Christmas traditions

I love the Christmas season, I really do. It seems like the rest of the world cherishes family time and tends to have a more appreciative attitude in general. It seems like every place I go, people are just a bit kinder than they have been the previous 11 months of the year.  Strangers hold doors open for you, cars let you pass them, people give bigger tips at restaurants, there’s just a different mentality this time of year.

Usually the week of Christmas is really exciting for me, I love wrapping the presents, spending time with family, enjoying the lights and decorations, experimenting with new recipes with my ladies in the kitchen, but this year a member of my family is trying to devastate my week!  You may have heard about this handsome little guy whom I adore.  I have this sweet, stud muffin of a son who is 8 months old.  8 months old and teething.  This is how our household has been functioning …and mind you it is nothing like how either of my girls behaved while teething of course! Little man thinks he doesn’t require sleep and when he does sleep he wakes often screaming.  That painful scream babies have that breaks your heart. He has just enough of a fever for me to keep checking it to make sure it isn’t getting super high. My week has been consumed with mid night baths attempting to cool him down, alternating Motrin and Tylenol, singing lullabies, teething rings, frozen washcloths, walking around the house bouncing, feeling like I’m threatening my girls if they aren’t able to remain silent for the small chunks of time that he sleeps, and A LOT of coffee. So, I’m completely drained.  I’m like putting the cereal box in the fridge exhausted.   Last night or this morning…I think 4 am-ish he finally seemed content.  I was downstairs to ensure the rest of my family was sleeping peacefully upstairs (one grouchy baby is bad enough, no need to add 2 grouchy children and a husband who has worked all day with no sleep) and my baby and I were rocking on the chair my mother in law gave us. I love the sound old rocking chairs make, the creaking of the wooden rods that other mommies have heard before you when they rocked their babes to sleep is soothing to me.  It’s just like the sound of wooden floor in an old home when you are swaying with your baby in your arms. Something about that always comforts me. As we were rocking, I looked around my living room at the soft glow of the tree, our nativity set lit on the shelf and it was wonderfully still.  I sang “Away in a Manger” to my little man and I stared at him envisioning baby Jesus sleeping just as soundly and I felt peaceful , I was thankful for the lack of sleep that helped me to appreciate that moment.

Then 6:30 came. My youngest daughter was in the bathroom calling me and she woke up the beast.  Two and a half hours is the most solid sleep I’ve had in a week.  I was not happy he had been woken up because in my head I was holding onto a hope of all my children resting until 10am without an issue. (For the record, my family never sleeps past 7….ever) I was irritated to say the least.  I told my girls not to move and went downstairs, put my little guy by his toys, went in the kitchen, made my coffee and took a minute to regroup.  It’s the week of Christmas and I was not going to let my fatigued attitude ruin the day.  The ladies came downstairs, turned on Disney Junior and I opened my Bible while my children ate breakfast. My day is always more intentional and focused when I take time to do this in the morning.

 “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus”. Revelation 13:12

Hmmmm patient endurance. That sounds like something I need in my life this week.  Funny how God had advice prepared long ago as He knew this day would happen.

So traditions…see how I get off topic? I’m running on coffee here and my baby is gnawing away at a toothbrush on my lap. Here are some of our favorite Christmas traditions around here.

  • Letting our children pick out Christmas ornaments. It’s always fun to see what they think is beautiful and fits their personality.
  • Cuddling on the couch watching Christmas movies ( my fave is “It’s a Wonderful Life”)

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  • Sledding/snowmobiling/shoveling if there’s snow!
  • We spend a day cleaning our home together then getting our decorations out and placing them all over the house.
  • My husband takes the girls shopping for me and I take them for him. They are so thoughtful in their choosing of gifts and we have fun with it.  This year we tried to buy my husband a live chick but the store said we had to get a minimum of 6. NOT HAPPENING.
  • Making cookies. My daughter shares my affinity for throwing parties. This year she begged me to have a cookie/PJ party. We invited my nieces, nephews and Grandma.  I’m incredibly grateful for the conversations that arise from time spent with my grandma.  We had a lot of fun imagining her at the swimming pool in a classy bikini, even if it was inappropriate! 😉

 

  • Military Christmas: Each year the unit my husband is in has a Christmas party for the families.  It’s neat for my children to get a glimpse of what their daddy does each month when he goes away and I like that they see the respect amongst the soldiers as they do formations and clean up after the party.  I’m always so proud when my husband introduces my girls to a soldier and they are polite and able to hold a conversation with them.
  • Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpas: This is the one tradition I’ve had my entire life. It’s a cozy, happy, fun night filled with food, games, family and friends.
  • Christmas morning: The world stops here.  This is our sacred family time.  We slow down, open gifts, eat a yummy breakfast together and get ready to travel to our destination when we are ready.  I cherish this morning so  very much.

 

I pray that whatever your plans are this week, if things get crazy and stressful, or you become exhausted from the busyness, that you would remember to ask for patient endurance, give yourself a second to regroup and grab a cup of coffee while you’re at it! Merry Christmas!

PS- We love starting new traditions around here, so please share any fun ideas you have!  We are not interested in ideas that involve lack of sleep for mommies or babies. 🙂

Running is for the dogs

I have been looking forward to this day all week for a number of reasons.

  • It’s our first day of Christmas break for homeschool which means all of our fun holiday traditions will be in full swing!  One of my favorites is cuddling on our big sectional to watch Christmas movies as a family.  As much as we have wanted to do this all month, my husband and I are both well acquainted with the children that attempt school work with lack of sleep…not a pretty picture.
  • I got to wake up next to my husband without him rushing off to work.  We wake up together each day but when he doesn’t have to work it’s so much more peaceful.  Usually I hurry downstairs, make his tea, pack his lunch, he showers and gets ready and off he goes.  We have been separated from each other a various number of times for military deployments or trainings so we never take waking up next to each other for granted. (Unfortunately the reason he was home is for a not so fun procedure at the dentist….keep him in your prayers!)
  • And what I have been anticipating the most….no morning workout!  I usually get up at about 5:30, help Clint get out the door on time and then start my workout.  I love starting my day this way and it points my eating habits in the right direction for sure, but when he’s home I have the option of working out any time I want!  So I was looking forward to a nice run today to get some fresh air.

Today I got up early with my kiddos and Clint slept in for a teeny bit while we made some fun Christmas pancakes.  I always sneak in bananas and flax seed because I feel terrible giving them all carbs and sugar!  When he came down the stairs I announced, “I’m going for a run today!” He informed me it was 9 degrees with the wind chill and maybe I should wait a few hours to go.  I decided that was probably a good idea.  I cleaned up from breakfast and ventured into the living room where Clint and the 3 littles were cuddling watching Tom and Jerry.  Of course little man was hungry so I thought I’ll feed him then go run.  Let me paint this picture for you a bit more….my husband and daughters are in fleece pj’s cuddling in our new warm flannel blanket. (They soak up daddy time when he’s home too) I’m in my fave winter outfit, leggings, a huge oversized sweater I found in my husband’s closet the other day that he may have worn last in high school, and some thick, warm, cozy socks.  We’re in the living room with our fireplace (the fake kind from Menards lol) going, the Christmas tree lights on and coffee next to me.  Warm sunshine is coming through my windows right to where I’m sitting on the couch nursing my little man.  So what happens next is only natural, I fell asleep cudding that little guy in fleece dinosaur pj’s.

 

What seemed like 5 minutes later but was more like 30, Clint said “Jame, if you wanna go run you better go now, I’ve gotta leave soon.” Ugghhhh, oh yea, I did say that was the one thing I wanted to do today.  After a bit of contemplation, I handed my sleeping baby to Clint, headed up the stairs and put on some layers.  Now I know it’s perfectly acceptable every once in awhile to spend the day on the couch warm and relaxing, but I have never gotten up to workout and regretted it.  I always feel better after a run, and when I spend the day on the couch, it generally leads to eating crap which leads to me feeling like crap. To ensure that I followed through with the run, I invited my dog who never says no.  As a matter of fact, when she sees me put my running clothes on she starts bouncing up and down like crazy.  I literally walked out the door with my doggie into the frigid, windy air and said to myself…”F this”.  But I went.  That’s the thing about working out, you have to know the result will be worth it and it was.  We only ran a couple miles but I feel great.  There isn’t an ounce of me that is wishing I was sitting on the couch all day and I know I”ll be a more energetic, present mama for my children because of it. I loved the fresh air blowing and the sun on my face while I listened to my “Fast” playlist.  It’s up for debate whether or not this playlist actually makes me fast….maybe it should be titled “Keep going” or “Don’t you dare walk”.  If you’re contemplating a run or workout today just go for it! You won’t be disappointed you did, if you really aren’t up for it, just ask your dog to come…they won’t let you forget it!

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If you need a little motivation while you run, here’s my “Fast” playlist! I know some people like to run without music, but it definitely helps me focus on what I’m trying to accomplish!

Fair warning…watch for language if you’re listening to these around kiddos!

  1. Come with me now: KONGOS
  2. Ho Hey: The lumineers
  3. Lets Go: Lil Jon, Trick Daddy & Twista
  4. Tears on her pillow: Soldier Hard The Military Collection Vol. 1
  5. Calabria 2008: Timbaland
  6. Break Free: Ariana Grande
  7. Sail: AWOLNATION
  8. Uma Thurman: Fall Out Boy
  9. Shut up and Dance: Walk the moon
  10. Thunderstruck: ACDC
  11. ‘Till I collapse:Eminem

I’d love to hear songs you think would be a good addition to this list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good woman is hard to find

 

I have never been the one with all the cool girlfriends. I’m honestly not really comfortable around women, especially when we are attending a new event and my social butterfly of a husband drops me with the wives and goes off to chat.   I’d much rather stay in with my kiddos.  I appreciate that men and children tend to be straight forward and they can deal with things and move on. However, it’s not that I believe strong, supportive, kind women don’t exist, I just feel that for some reason little girls grow up thinking they are of value if they have a lot of friends, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Upon hearing this, it may seem shocking that this past Saturday I spent the afternoon with a bunch of women. Some friends and I spent the day at True Essence Tranquility pampering ourselves to mini spa treatments.  It was pretty close to heaven….this is how our day went:

  • Ride to the spa in my cousin’s husband’s new truck that we may or may not have lost a part to on the way. Chatting the whole way without any children interrupting.
  • Meet up with the other ladies for lunch.
  • Head to the spa where right when you walk in the door you remove your shoes and get rid of purses and cell phones.
  • We all were taken to a room with yummy fruits, snacks, cozy pillows and a fireplace to relax before our sessions began.
  • We are brought mimosas and cupcakes since it’s my buddy’s birthday weekend. (Can you believe they had my FAVE red velvet AND it was gluten free???? Seriously…heaven)
  • Finally, the ladies came to get us and we rotated between hot stone facials, massages and reiki treatments.

The time at the spa was amazing in and of itself, the women that worked there joked that we walked in loud and giggly and they watched each one of us quiet down and relax, but my favorite part of the day was who I spent it with. I left feeling energized and hopeful and blessed by the mere presence of these women in my life.  Some are greatly infused in my life, others I might only see a few times a year, but I thought it was important to share what they all bring into my life.  Just in case you are the woman who is sitting at home now thinking about the holiday party you have to attend with your husband and his co-workers and you just dread meeting new people.  You never know who God will bring into your life.  He has a funny way of doing that right when you need it.

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  1. Miss J: I can’t say enough about this woman. You know how you have that one person in your life who knows everything? She’s known me since we were infants and we have went through A LOT together. Family vacations lying on pontoon boats looking at the stars, many long nights of super Mario, jammin’ out to Bon Jovi, partying with me in college, being a part of eachothers’ weddings, having babies, and now attending spa days. We spend hours on the phone during tornadoes because it never fails that both of our husbands are at military training when the sirens go off! We just don’t do life without each other. She’s that friend that you can look across the room and all of a sudden you can’t contain your giggles. She’s a sister to me, so spending the day with her was a great addition to our list of memories together.
  2. Miss T: If people have soulmates other than their spouses than this is mine. I met her in one of those situations I wasn’t quite comfortable in. My husband had left my aunt’s house to chat a few houses over and I’m pretty sure I trudged down the road after him because I was ready to leave with my 2 little ladies. She and I just hit it off and we were family. This woman is my absolute encourager in any situation, motherhood, marriage, running, eating well, with no hesitation. I need her, she’s there. I think making a friend when you know what you stand for is pretty meaningful. As an adult, hopefully you do some careful consideration before someone becomes a part of your life. You aren’t just being someone’s friend so you can go to their sleepover with the cool kids. She’s my shoulder to cry on and practical head when I need it. I’m not sure a blessing is even a strong enough word to describe her presence in my life.
  3. Miss S: This woman came into my life again as a stranger at a party of another friend. She is one of the most generous, family oriented people I know. She’s always up for a good time and will do anything for you. A couple years ago, my husband and I had 2 foster girls living with us and without hesitation she helped me out many times and came over to watch them while I went to work. She was my saving grace and didn’t think twice about it.
  4. Miss JH: Same story as Miss S, this lady and I don’t see each other often. I knew of her children before I met her because they attended the school I worked at. (I knew them from their reputation of having good behavior, fyi) She is the cool mom. She always looks put together and is hilarious. I am so fond of her heart for animals and Disney. Somehow she’s managed to be gentle and strong at the same time. I especially appreciate her advice and tips on nursing. She has mentioned several times that I can call her any time with questions and although I haven’t had the opportunity to take her up on it, I know she would be happy to help!

I know this post may seem sappy, but taking the time to appreciate the positive women in your life is important. They don’t have to be your best friend, you don’t have to be on the phone for hours a day, but we should support and encourage each other.  All of these women are just being themselves and don’t even realize they are such a blessing to me.  You can be that to others.  Take the time to invest in friendships even if you aren’t that comfortable.  I left that spa day feeling so rejuvenated.  I don’t know if it was the day without kids, the laughing about our crazy husbands, the hot stone facial or the mimosas, but I think it may have to do with the fact that I spent the day with four completely different, smart, beautiful, strong women who value being a wife and mommy and taking a break, even if it’s at spa day once a year.

 

 

Out for a ride

For some reason God has gifted us with fall like weather here in mid December and my family is absolutely taking advantage of it.  One aspect of being a stay at home mom that I really enjoy is the opportunity to play outside with my kids without it seeming like a job after a long day of work.  Today we went out for a bike ride/stroller jog and I just love the conversations I get to have with my girls during this time.  The fresh air was so crisp and the sun was just peeking through enough to keep us warm. Just typing this puts a smile on my face thinking about it.

Bundling little man up and taking off!

My 4 year old is infamous for becoming tired on bike rides.  When you start out she pedals like crazy, then before you know it, done.  She drops her bike and decides her leg is broken, her ankle is sprained or something has happened so she cannot go on.  If you are in my neighborhood and see a little pink and purple bike with training wheels ditched on the side of the road, please leave it.  I refuse to carry it for her, if you wait a few minutes you’ll see a 4 year old trudging back to get it.  No worries, she’s not dying even if she looks like it!

And here we are.  Not even 2 minutes into our ride and we have an injury.  The short sock and leggings has made just enough skin show that it touched the pedal.  Of course her mother hen big sister swoops in to save the day.  She took off her shoe, fixed her sock and we were off again.

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I was a bit hesitant when we moved into town after living in the country.  I love the country.  I love the stillness of it, the peacefulness, the sunsets, the starry nights, but I have to say riding bikes with little ones can be pretty tricky out there.  When we moved to our new neighborhood that was something my husband and I both commented on often.  We loved seeing people out walking and riding bikes and that our kids were safe.  The cool thing about it is, we still are pretty close to the country, so we can go a bit off the path and explore.

There’s a house down the street from us that has a locust tree and my girls love collecting the pods.  Today Maia noticed that you could shake them and they were dried out enough to sound like a maraca.  Then Kealy found this small branch from an evergreen near our home and informed me that the Indians used to use these to make their skirts when they dance.  (I’m pretty sure she’s talking about hula skirts in Hawaii, but who knows!)

My favorite part of this afternoon was when my sweet daughter Maia looked at me and said “Mom, when we do this together it just fills my heart with joy.”  That made me stop for a minute, my mere existence being present with my children gives them joy.  Not just a teeny bit, it fills their hearts.  I hadn’t done my hair, no makeup, there weren’t extravagant plans that went into our ride, we simply enjoyed the day together.  It’s so precious to me that we have endless opportunities each day to bring our children joy and to teach them that they aren’t a task but a blessing in our lives.

And finally, the best part of bike rides and stroller jogs….

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Everyone in our family feels better after some exercise and fresh air!  Hopefully you are able to enjoy this surprisingly warm weather with your family.  Try your best to be present in every moment 😉

I apologize that these pictures all have dates on them (and the incorrect ones!) We are busy around this house now so no time for editing them!

A peek into our homeschool

I thought I’d share some pictures of what homeschool looks like for us.  Fortunately, we have a tri-level home so I’m able to use pretty much the entire basement area for our homeschool.  Being a past public school teacher, I love setting up my classroom at home 🙂  This is only our second year of homeschool and we began last year using this area as well, but the further along I progressed into my pregnancy, the more exhausting it was for me to continuously go up and down the stairs.  So we ended the year by doing school on our main level at the kitchen table.  I’m a fan of having a separate room because when I’m upstairs I tend to want to unload the dishwasher, pick up around the living room, clean the floors, or do any of the million other things I do in a day…we all can focus better in a room dedicated to school, plus it’s more fun! So here are some pictures of how I organize our school room/den.

Just imagine that horrible wood paneling is clean and white 🙂 That’s one of those projects we planned on doing a few years ago and haven’t gotten to yet!  Last year we had desks in our school room but the table is serving our purpose much better.  This way I can sit easily with the girls and they have room for their school supplies.

We keep our rules posted in the calendar area with the poems each lady is working on.  On the white board I try to keep info from whatever science/history unit we are doing.  This day I had my girls tell me what they knew about baby animals. And of course we have a seat for our little man if he needs a nap!

On my desk area I keep my lesson plans, portfolios for each of the girls and some manipulatives.  I also have a big container filled with crayons and markers if we need them.  (Each of my girls has their own pencil case as well) I gave each of my girls a cubbie area in that buffet to keep their materials in.  I keep teacher’s manuals and books in the center cubbie.  Of course there’s always coffee on the desk and nail polish remover to erase any permanent marker as needed!

One of my favorite ways to keep my little guy busy is with magnets.  His sisters love to take breaks to entertain him whenever I allow it! One of the things I love about homeschool is the activities my girls can do together like calendar time.  Each binder is differentiated for what they need but they are still able to collaborate on their weather and tally mark pages.  It’s so neat to watch my oldest teach her sister.

This is the bin I keep for my 4 year old.  My oldest is in first grade which requires a lot of diligence and one on one time with me so I try to keep activities available for miss Kealy.  I also try to make sure each day she and I have some alone time to read together. Some things I like to keep in these drawers are:

  • magnatiles
  • lacing cards
  • ABC puzzles
  • construction paper
  • glitter glue
  • wikki stix
  • play doh
  • do a dot markers
  • magnetic letters and animals
  • stamps
  • brain flakes

For my little one I absolutely cannot keep that all of these items out at once so I try to rotate every few weeks.  The top container has books that I know my first grader can read independently.  She loves adding books to this container since she is keeping a reading log for the year.

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Our little man is loving to jump right now which is fantastic during school time.  Just this week he began crawling pretty quickly so he’s becoming a bit frustrated when he’s not free to explore.  I’ve been spending A LOT of time cleaning our floors!

That’s just a peek into our daily life as homeschoolers.  However, with a little guy who is changing almost daily, you never know what it will look like!

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5

Food is a 4 letter word

 

If you are a woman, chances are there has been a point in your life in which you struggled with food, diet, the way you looked or the way you felt.  I remember the moment this battle began inside me so vividly and it’s something I”ll never forget. I have these 2 cousins who are gorgeous, they are like sisters to me and I adore them both.  They are uniquely different blessings in my life.  From my perspective, they have great bodies.  They are those women who have a small waist and actually have hips. I however, am shaped more like a teenage boy.  Straight up and down with no hips at all, which means if I gain any weight it shows on my belly big time! I always admired that about them.  One day, we were at their house swimming and a family friend was over.  I felt so cool as I put on one of my cousin’s swimmingsuits.  It was a blue halter top with a white daisy on it and blue shorts to match.  I walked out onto their deck and a boy said to me “Ewww, gross you look fat!” And that was it.  I was fat.

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An oldie but a goodie.  Beautiful women!

I spent a lot of time during junior high and high school researching ways to not be fat and they worked.  I became very thin very fast.  I knew how many calories I ate in a day, I knew how long I could refrain from food until I passed out and I knew how much I needed to exercise and would not quit until I burnt at least 500-1000 calories.  At one point a friend’s mother called my mom to let her know I wasn’t eating lunch and I became so livid. My softball coach also caught on.  I liked reaching the little goals I set for myself and I liked feeling hungry.  I felt powerful and in control when I could tell my stomach no if it was growling.

Fast forward to when I began dating my husband my junior year of high school.  I had fun with him.  We went out to eat and he made me feel good about myself and it had nothing to do with how I looked, we just genuinely enjoyed eachother’s company.  He was the first person in my life at that time who really made me feel happy with myself.  His influence was so important to me that when I turned 18 I got a tattoo with his initials on it because I never wanted to forget that feeling.  I remember the man doing the tattoo saying “Are you sure you want this? This is a death sentence, these people always come back to get them redone.” I didn’t care.  That was a big deal to me and I knew that if we weren’t together I still needed to have that memory to remind myself. During college I partied, ate carbs and gained weight. (Doesn’t everyone?!) I always loved working out though so I hadn’t gained enough for it to bother me that much.  It wasn’t until I had my first daughter that I decided I needed to change the way I was taking care of my body, because I knew she would be watching.  I’d love for you to read on and see how I’ve done that within the past 12 years!

  1. Goals: If you have read any other sections of this blog you know I’m a goal oriented person. I like numbers and I like seeing them go down. I’ve learned that taking care of yourself should not be a number. Skinny doesn’t necessarily mean pretty or healthy. My goal is to be a strong, fit mother and an example for my daughters. Please, please if you are beginning a health journey don’t make your only goal a number on the scale. I’ve found that taking measurements consistently is helpful and taking pictures of yourself. I know we dread them but since having my third baby I have taken a picture every month (be sure it’s in the same outfit!) and it’s motivating! I can see change and I’m encouraged.
  2. Why?: You can have an infinite number ofgoals but if you don’t know why you are striving for them they are useless. I view my body as a tool that God gave for me to do specific jobs. If I’m not taking care of it, I can’t do them. When I eat badly or don’t exercise I become lethargic and grouchy. I’m not the best mommy I can be, I don’t feel like attending the volunteer opportunities I’ve signed up for and I have guilt when I eat. If you don’t know why you are on this journey it’ll be tempting to give up when things get rough.
  3. Eat when you’re hungry: This seems simple I know but it’s important. I took this to an extreme in my younger years but your body doesn’t need food nearly as much as we feed it. It’s okay for your stomach to growl. That’s a sign you need to eat. If you just stop for a second each time you go to grab a snack and ask yourself “Am I hungry?” more often than not you will see you aren’t. Boredom is not hunger!
  4. Food is not equivalent to fun: This one is tricky because there are so many celebrations that are related to food. That’s okay, but just realize if what you look forward to most at Thanksgiving is the food, it will control your day. You’ll overeat and be miserable. Now, if your holiday is about spending time with your family, playing games, relaxing, those things will control your day. Try to plan date nights to do something active rather than just going out for dinner. Believe me I know enjoying a meal without kiddos is a rarity and it’s nice to do however, only eating on date nights can generate your emotions becoming tied to food. Your brain believes food is what makes that event fun, not the alone time with your spouse.

  5. Have a support system: I have a fantastic friend who is my running/workout buddy. We began running at the same time and trained for a half marathon together and I just love her. She motivates me when I’m in a rut and I do the same for her. An added bonus of this friendship is we have met more friends who run that I may not have hooked up with if I was doing this alone. It’s hard to say no to a long run or workout on a Saturday when you have 3 other people who got up early to meet you. If you can do this with your spouse it’s awesome but just be aware of how you handle constructive criticism. If you think you would become defensive when your husband says something like “You haven’t been to the gym this week” then it’s probably not worth the arguments it will cause in your marriage. Also, getting a sitter consistently for you to workout together can be tricky!

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  6. You are your worst enemy: Stop telling yourself you can’t do it. Stop beating yourself up because of how you look and feel now. Stop going back to how your life was in the past. Right now is what matters, take charge!
  7. You don’t have their body: One of the most important things I’ve learned is to accept what I am. I don’t have the body my cousins have and I never will. This is not to be confused as “They lost weight and I never will”. (See number 6!) You will not make any progress until you start looking at yourself only. I can lose 30 pounds and eat well and I will never look like a supermodel, I’m 5 feet tall. There’s nothing wrong with that! This body has done some pretty amazing things in my life and I’m grateful I have it.
  8. Change: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about something they aren’t even willing to make an effort to change. Albert Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” You have to be willing to commit to a healthy lifestyle if you want to see change.zone
  9. Routine: I understand that working out is hard. I understand that eating well is difficult but I promise if you try it for a few weeks soon you won’t even want to go back to the way you were living before. Research says it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. So if you aren’t sure about all of this, take on a piece of it for just 21 days and see what happens. Stop watching TV for 21 days, don’t eat out for 21 days, exercise for 21 days, once it’s a habit it’s hard to break!
  10. Find your niche: If you don’t like running, try bicycling, if you don’t like bicycling try Zumba. Now is a great time to exercise because there is so much out there. Don’t give up because something doesn’t work for you and don’t continue to do something you hate.
  11. Beauty: Because of my struggles with food I was fearful to have daughters, like to the point where I prayed for sons. When I had one girl then another I got the hint that maybe God could use my past for something good. For a big part of my life I believed skinny =beautiful. You seriously need to evaluate what beauty means to you. If you find yourself stuck on unrealistic expectations you might want to stay away from your TV and magazines for awhile. My girls have taught me a lot about this. My youngest daughter started running with me this summer. I told my husband that I love that she wants to run because mommy does it to take care of herself and she wants to spend time with me, weight had nothing to do with it. Just the other day my 6 year old looked at me and said “Mom, I love when you don’t wear makeup, your face is so beautiful.” I just love children , they are honest, brutally honest. I can tell you this because my 4 year old updates me when my big belly is getting a little smaller! But seriously what is beautiful to you? If for you it’s perfection or looking like someone that isn’t you, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but it’s not attainable.

    The many faces of beauty in our household

  12. Make yourself a priority: This is the hardest thing for me to do. I feel an incredible amount of guilt leaving my 3 babies to go workout or take my time at the grocery store. I think Christians especially have a hard time with this but if you aren’t taking care of the body God gave you then you can’t fulfill your purpose to its full potential. However, there is a fine line between taking care of yourself and becoming vain and obsessive. Be sure that you aren’t neglecting other areas of your life that are of value.
  13. Reward yourself: When you set goals, be sure to reward yourself and don’t back out! For the past 5 months I have been working towards a goal to order a Steelers sweatshirt I’ve wanted but wouldn’t buy when I was preggo. The second I reached my goal I instantly thought….hmmm maybe 5 more pounds and then I’ll order it. Don’t do that to yourself! Try to make gradual goals. If you are trying to lose 50 pounds or eat raw foods for 6 months, reward yourself at smaller increments. It will keep you motivated and on task. Something that’s really important here is to not reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog learning to sit and roll over. If you are trying to take better care of your body it’s confusing when you reward it with a pizza. (Imagine trying to teach your children not to hit then rewarding them by letting them have a free day at school where they can hit as many times as they want.)
  14. You may need a new doctor: I cringe every time I hear that someone is being referred for surgery or put on high blood pressure medicine without their doctor even considering their diet or activity level. Our society is more accepting of being cut open on a surgical table or putting something foreign into our bodies rather than exercising 3 times a week. When I went to my family doctor years ago for migraines the first thing she suggested was that I start exercising consistently. She would not put me on medication until I tried that first. There have been so many studies that show links between exercise, foods and their effects on the body as compared to medication. My family has found chiropractors to be especially helpful with this. If you aren’t okay with switching your family practitioner, I would suggest adding a chiropractor to your network.
  15. Money: I hate to spend money on things that aren’t useful. Eating healthy can mean trips to the grocery store more often and a bit more money but remember your goal! I love the quote “The longer the shelf life the shorter your life.” If your health is a priority to you, start paying attention to what you are using to fuel your body. For me this also pertains to working out. If you find a pair of running shorts you like buy them. Take the time to get some good shoes that are supportive. This is only a waste if you don’t use them. If you make these investments they will pay off.

Then God said “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.”

Genesis 1:29

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Proverbs 23:20-21

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4