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27Jun/122

Ebb and Flow

I took Nolan to the gym with me last night.

I was thinking a yoga class would be a win for both of us. I could decompress and he could motor through the play room without me constantly trying to ruin his fun (ie. keeping him from electric outlets, falling downstairs, landing face-first in the tub, playing in the cat's food...).

We arrived, and he was sleeping. I paid, signed him in, set him down, talked with the child care workers. Still asleep. So I left. I mean, I was about to miss the class, so I left.

And it was wonderful. Just what I needed.

Nolan woke up sometime while I was gone, of course, and because I wasn't around when I dropped him off, all he wanted was to be held.

So much for running off some of that (abundant) energy.

I haven't been able to find my wedding rings lately.

I lose my phone regularly and go to do something only to forget what I was going to do when I get there. I've sort of gotten used to this, but the wedding rings were too much for me, and I was frustrated.

I tore apart "everything."

I called the hotel I stayed at a couple of weekends ago.

I prayed quite a bit and eventually told God that I knew he knew where they were, and it would be really nice if he'd clue me in.

I imagined that someone was holding onto them to teach me a lesson, and when I found out, I told that someone that I didn't need to be taught a lesson with the rings. I needed someone to show me how to be a good mother and how to save up enough energy to be a wife without shortchanging my son. In my head, I was really letting the unspecified person have it, but I also knew there was no one actually trying to teach me a lesson.

I knew I had actually lost the rings. But I teeter back and forth between feeling confident in motherhood and okay, every thing's changing again, and how do I handle this? Lately, I've been feeling less than confident, and so easily tired out, and it felt good to blame a non-existent someone else for a few moments.

After awhile, I just kind of had to let it go. Consciously relax and move on. Because I have a son who needed me to cuddle him and play games and sing and make him laugh and not be a stressed out basket case.

Somewhere in all of that, I was able to relax about my current place in motherhood. I don't know what it was. Maybe the struggle and the eventual peace that came with it? Maybe it was all the extra snuggles he's been needing (that is mama needed, also)?

I don't know. I know that we ebb and flow, ebb and flow.

We struggle, not purposely, but for good reasons. Reasons like little people who depend on us and husbands who want to be on our team.

Of course, after all of that, after the struggle and the letting go, I found my rings.

15Apr/121

Happiest of Birthdays

Yesterday was my birthday. It was perfect, thanks in part to so many people that I felt I just had to find a way to pay homage to all of them. I hope I didn't miss anyone, but yesterday was just so full of good that I have a feeling I likely did. Still, if you played a part in making the day so refreshing and beautiful and special, thank you. My heart is full, and I am so grateful to have the friends and family I do.

Nolan has changed yet another part of me (in a good way) because most years I have "needed" the day to be perfect (whatever that means) and FULL of celebration. Those are good things, but usually I will put too much pressure on it which kind of takes away from the fun.

This year, I just wanted to go to Rodale's Tulip Festival with my family; I wanted to bask in mass quantities of my favorite flower and show them to Nolan.  I wanted to go on a date with my husband. Since those events were already on the books, I took on a much more relaxed approach to the day. I was free to enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did.

Some of my favorite parts:

-Snuggle time with Tim and Nolan in the morning. Oh MY, you should see this baby in the morning. He is chatty and happy and so excited that hey! all 3 of us are together! I love it when we can all lounge in bed together.

-An hour long conversation with my sister. It made it seem like she's not so far away. Also? She's getting MARRIED to a man who is perfect for her, and I'm so excited for them and her and OK, me,too because I just got a new brother-in-law whom I adore.

-Two hilarious phone messages, one each from Katie and Steven. Really. I laughed out loud.

-Tim took care of Nolan while I did Yoga for the Warrior. I'm getting closer to being able to do Bird of Paradise! (See below if you're wondering what I'm talking about.)

-Birthday mail! My favorite piece today was a card from my friend Kristen T. I'm pretty sure Kristen is my long-lost sister. Words from her just kind of seep into my heart and fill in the cracks.

-The Tulip festival! Rodale is a bit of a drive for us, so it meant time for Tim and I to talk. When we got there (after a bit of a panic because oh, no! We were going to be late! I HATE being late and making people wait), I fully sunk into Tim's everything is going to turn out fine and soaked up an hour and a half of wandering through fields, rows of beautiful flowers, and what I think is going to be Rodale's kids' summer camp with Tim, Nolan, Mary Ellen, Bill, Steph, Eric, and my mom.

Can I just tell you how much I love my family? I had a blast just taking in the scenery and exploring the grounds with these people who I feel so lucky to have in my life. And I got to watch them love my son. There's not a lot that can fill my heart like watching people love my baby well. (Also? You should have seen Bill with that little boy. They looked like they were just meant to be together, chilling, and taking in the sights. Ho.ly.Cow.)

-Tim and I went on a date! Just the two of us! I'm not quite sure when the last time that happened. I mean, my parents offer to watch Nolan often, but we usually have to use that time to work on homework or complete a project. But today? No projects, no homework. We wandered into a health food store when we arrived a bit too early for dinner (I got a few new things to play with- dried cherries with no sugar added, coconut oil, and fair trade cocoa nibs.) and then ate quite possibly our best dinner out to date.

Tim's cousin, Stacey, has been recommending The Farmhouse for quite some time, and I'm so glad she has. Words are my love language, but right after that? Food. Really good, well-thought-out food. The Farmhouse does that kind of food well. They source local and organic ingredients whenever possible (part of why it tastes so good- it's fresh!), aren't afraid to use fat (hello butter, pancetta, cream, and duck fat) and are creative with their menu offerings. Love, love, love. I'll certainly be talking about this meal for quite some time.

Oh, and our server? Amazing. I'll be contacting The Farmhouse to find out her name (we were at Table 3 at 5 o'clock) because she was just that good. Guessed immediately that I love mojitos, works there because she loves the food just that much, had great ideas and tips on what to order, and was so sweet and fun. To our server- I'm so sorry I don't remember your name! But I'll be finding it out and remembering it. You helped make our dinner so wonderful.

-With my love tank full, thanks to all the great conversation, experiences, sweet birthday messages (in email, text, and written, and facebook form) and amazing food, I returned (with Tim) to pick up my son, refreshed.  Snuggles happened immediately, of course.

-As a perfect topper to the day, my dad presented me with two cookbooks he personally picked out for me. My dad essentially works two jobs, is training for a marathon,and is in the middle of a construction project at home (plus he tries to spend as much time with his grandson as he can!). He doesn't have a lot of extra time to be picking out presents, but he DID. And he picked out ones that perfectly suit my interests. That made me feel like a million bucks.

-And then my mother handed me giant organic chocolate cupcakes.

13Feb/124

Hello, Monday

Good morning!

By the time you read this, it's likely I've had my second (or third) cup of coffee.

[source]

It's likely I'm looking for a time to slip in a workout

and I probably haven't showered yet.

(I will, though!)

It's likely I don't have a lot set in stone for the day because Mondays are good days to ease into the week if it's possible

but there's lots I'm looking forward to this week, 

like...

...giving out Equal Exchange valentines until every last one is gone (although I'm tempted to keep some of the chocolate for myself!)

...going to my nephew's basketball game(s). I haven't seen him since before Nolan was born!

....finishing up level 2 of the 30 Day Shred and moving on to level 3....Yikes. I'm a little nervous, but I can also tell I'm getting stronger. The getting stronger thing is what has me continuing with the shred. I'm a little obsessed with strength these days.

... going for a walk, maybe?! If it's "warm" enough, I'll be bundling both me and Nolan up to enjoy the sunshine while we can.

...another Bikram yoga class and a few more hours to work on my "courage" project. (<--I'm loving this! The hours fly by when it's just me and my computer and my fair trade agenda.)

...oh, and another visit to a local Spanish church. Did I mention that Tim, Nolan, and I are going there? We are. And no, we don't know Spanish (yet), but we're working on it. Getting to know the language, the culture, and the people is something we've been talking about for awhile...we've decided it's time for us to move past the talking phase. (We almost chickened out but are so glad we didn't!)

So that's a bit of my world.

How about you? What are you looking forward to this week?

I'm linking up with Lisa Leonard's Hello, Monday series.

3Feb/1212

Hi, and How’s it Going?

I've missed this place.

It feels like a long time since I last posted, but I just checked and it's only been a week.

At the same time, didn't I just give birth to this cutie?

Time is almost meaningless to me right now. Every thing compresses and stretches and I only typically know what day it is thanks to reminders I set in my phone or dates I schedule with friends and family.

Every day life  is a big jumble right now. Even Nolan isn't exactly on a "schedule." He's a bit of a free spirit, and I thought I'd be feeling jealous of those kids who are on more of a schedule. But I'm not.

It helps that I have people in my life who will take over Nolan duties while I exercise or run a few errands by myself or do whatever it is I want to do. (But really, I usually just have time for a shower and some errands, and it is enough.)

Last Wednesday, Nolan's Nana (and my mama) came over to do some of that. I took a shower (!) (I take one nearly every day, but taking one without worrying if I'm going to turn off the water to hear a screaming baby still feels like a luxury.) I had a few errands to run, but my excitement lay in the possibility of writing. Thoughts turned into sentences in the way that made me wish I had some kind of machine to take down those sentences as I thought them, and I was ready to write.

I'll admit I took too long to choose my outfit. Maybe because I could?

I ran my requisite errands.

And then decided I didn't have enough time to sit down and write and really do it justice.

But the possibility of writing was enough.

The words came out of my head and my heart like I had written, and it was almost as renewing as seeing them in front of me.

And anyway, I ended up wandering the aisles of the "health food" section of a nearby grocery store with my remaining free time, and that is one of my favorite rejuvenating activities.

I mean it.

Cooking, exercise, writing, health-food-store-perusing.

Those are the things that give me back the energy that sneaks away during the day.

If I'm not here for a while, I'm likely using whatever free time I do have to do one of the others.

I'm discovering that while I can have "everything," I can't have it all at once.

That's ok. That's great, even.

Speaking of which, the 21-Day Yoga Challenge? I enjoyed it. I'm glad I signed up. I didn't do it every day, but it did have me doing yoga more. It did show me the value of squeezing just a little bit of yoga into my day if I can manage it. Not every practice has to be a drawn-out process of getting ready, traveling, setting up, waiting for the class to start, taking the class, and traveling home (although I feel like I kind of need some of those in my life, too.)

Sometimes little bits are good enough.

Like this.

It's nice to check in, say hi and how's it going.

Even if I have just a few minutes to do so.

So hi. How's it going? :-)

If you have a few minutes, please tell me something about you. I want to know about your favorite meal or what you like to do during little spurts of free time...or anything you want to share. Just share! Please, I mean :-) .

27Jan/123

Something New

[source]

I tried out my first Bikram yoga class last night.

I was nervous.

The room is heated to around 105 degrees and around 40% humidity. I mean, what's appealling about that?

But I love yoga and I don't have a lot of money, so when a deal for 10 classes for $30 popped up on Groupon, I had to take it. I had to, you know?

So, I spent time yesterday googling what to wear and what to eat and what to expect. I packed 2 towels and a quart of water and tried to hydrate well throughout the day. (Ok, part of my hydration included 3 cups of coffee.)

And then I showed up.

Early, because it was my first time and I had to register.

Also because the website specifically states that doors will be locked at the posted class time.

Um, I tend to be late for most classes.

I get distracted at home.

I start talking with someone in the lobby.

And then class has already started, and I'm sneaking in, trying to get myself set up quietly and get into that peaceful state that everyone else seems to be in...but quickly.

That was just not a possibility last night.

So, I arrived about 15 minutes early, got unpacked, took one of the last spots in the room, and lucked out- I was between two very friendly ladies who helped me feel comfortable (in the 105-degree room).

And then it was time.

90 minutes of stretching, pulling, strength.

I approached it like I've been approaching so many experiences lately- one moment at a time. (I like yoga classes best when I focus on doing this.)

The time flew.

I was full of energy after I recovered.

Today, I feel fabulous. Running low on sleep (maybe I'll try an earlier class next time?), but really great.

And so glad that Groupon suckered me into trying something new.

Have you tried anything new recently? What was your experience?

15Jan/124

Last Week

I wrote a bit about Tim being busy, not having a car, etc. in my last post. That very same night, he came home, took over baby duties for a few hours, and told me to go find a way to relax. SUCH a blessing- Nolan had been cranky for nearly the whole day, and I was exhausted.

My way to relax? I stuffed my face with as much sugar and fat as I could handle and took a bath.

I confessed my emotional eating to my husband, who did nothing but encourage me. And with that- although we did have some rough spots and sleep deprivation-memories of the past 5 days are nothing but sweet.

I mean sweet. I feel like I'm just oozing with happiness and excitement kind of sweet. I feel like I should issue a warning if you're reading this and just not awake yet kind of sweet.

It might be the coffee I'm drinking or the hormones raging through my body or the baby who woke up in a good mood after sleeping in his own bed last night.

Other possible reasons:

Family

I've always been a family girl, but can I just say how lucky I feel to have married a man whose extended family live nearby? Some of them have become treasured friends of mine, and I love it when I am able to get time with them during the week.

Also? There are some family members (ahem- Mom, Dad, Mary Ellen, and Steph) who act like I am doing them a favor when they come over to hang out with both of us or watch him while I go out. That just does so much good for me (and Nolan) in so many ways.

Fitness

Right now, I'm working out for quality of life, strength, and comfort in my own skin. For me, that's much more motivating than any particular number). With some help with Nolan while I worked out, I was able to complete yoga every day with the exception of Friday (including one studio class that left me feeling fantastic), three 30 Day Shred workouts, and a walk around the neighborhood on the one day it wasn't too cold or rainy for him.

I feel good. I really believe that physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health are all tied together.

Courage

[source]

My "word of the year" is so fitting as things are continuing to change- in exciting and scary ways!- around here. Not quite at the point where I can write about them publicly, but soon?

There is more to list, but while my I have a sleeping baby next to me, I want to go catch up with your posts and emails! A cup of coffee, a full heart, a happy baby,and catching up with friends- I'm soaking up every drop of this Sunday morning.

I hope you are, too.

7Jan/126

21 Day Challenge

Yoga Journal is hosting a 21 Day Yoga Challenge. While I'm kind of digging the walking, 30 Day Shred workouts, and 1 yoga class a week groove I've got going on (can you call sticking to the plan for 6 days so far a "groove"?), I'm wondering if a little extra yoga in my life might be a good idea.

I credit yoga as a catalyst for a lot of the positive changes I've seen in how I look at the world.

It might help my body and mind stay relaxed, which is what I need when I'm on call for Nolan nearly 24/7.

So more yoga is a good thing for me.

I'm going to try it.

Yoga every day for 21 days.

Anyone want to join me?

Click here to sign up. The challenge starts on Monday!

27Nov/117

Yoga Love

I stuck to my plan of doing no physical exercise for 2 weeks postpartum.

I'm glad. My body had, and still has, healing to do.

But I've been itching to do some yoga.

During pregnancy, I attended a prenatal yoga class and practiced with Shiva Rea's prenatal yoga DVD.

I enjoyed the DVD so much that I bought the postnatal version, which I plan to use until I get my strength, flexibility, and stamina up enough to do non-pregnancy-related yoga practices.

(Does anyone have recommendations for post- postnatal yoga DVD's or podcasts?)

The day after Nolan turned two weeks old, I tried it out, with the expectation that I would follow along with the DVD until it was time for my body to stop. Yoga is very much about listening to and respecting the boundaries of the body, pushing the limits, but not too much.

I ended up doing the whole thing.

It felt wonderful.

It was the perfect amount of challenge without being too challenging. The next day, my muscles were sore in ways I haven't felt in quite some time.

I completed it again 2 days later. My plan is practice 3 times a week. At the 6-week mark, I'll start attending one studio class a week. (I still have paid-for classes, and I also found a great deal to carry me through March.)

I'm thrilled that my body didn't revolt after 50 minutes of yoga; it is so good for me mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I'm entertaining ideas getting back into running. A woman pushing a jogging stroller lapped me during the first 5k I ever ran, and I've felt inspired by her ever since.

I'm playing around with plans to work up to yoga teaching certification.

But for now, I'm practicing 3, maybe 4, times a week, and that feels really good.

15Aug/113

Yoga Love

Tim and I did some house/pet sitting this past weekend.

Essentially, we were on vacation.

Tim still had work, and I still had class work, errands, whatever, but...

We got paid in homemade, organic, delicious meals.

There were dogs and cats.

(I love animals. So much so that when Tim saw my happiness around them, he asked me if I wanted one of my own.)

There was a home gym.

I used it nearly every day.

1/2 an hour on the elliptical while watching cooking shows , TLC, or Boy Meets World.

And then yoga.

Last weekend, I discovered this DVD.

I popped it in, unsure of what to expect.

My last Shiva Rea experience had been enjoyable, but a little...odd.

Lots of "undulating." (Think doing the wave in all kinds of directions and poses.)

But this?

It's a prenatal DVD, but it took me back to what I love about yoga.

Maybe it was the change in setting or the class style or the poses I'd been missing, but whatever it was, it took me back to my yoga-loving, live-out-this-moment, maybe-I-could-teach-this self.

It was a little like coming home.

Probably because I've been saturated in baby everything lately.

Of course, I'm looking forward to meeting the little one growing inside of me...

...to everything that means,

But sometimes all I can think  is baby

and it's been driving me a little batty.

But the yoga dvd I've so recently fell in love with?

It has me feeling a little more balanced, refreshed, a little more in touch with what makes me me.

I did the same practice 3 days in a row

then took yesterday as a rest day

because my muscles were that oh-so-good kind of yoga sore.

But I'm back at it today.

This time with my own copy.

I got it for a total of $10.70 at Target.

Also? There's a post-natal DVD by the same company and instructor.

Once I'm beyond that, there are more DVD's to try

each for about the same price as one class in a studio.

That makes me a very happy woman.

Disclaimer: I've taken quite a few in-studio classes, so I'm pretty familiar with proper form. If you're just starting out with yoga, please take plenty of time to educate yourself  proper form so you don't end up hurt. I believe the best way to do this is by enrolling in a beginner yoga series expressly meant for learning alignment and breathing techniques.

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21Feb/115

Saturday Best

One of my big triumphs of the weekend? I brought back this sexy look.Ahem.

Why did I ever stop doing yoga? For a woman like me, whose internal compass seems set on "high strung," chilling the heck out for at least an hour a few times a week does wonders. Wonders. The benefits are physical, mental, and spiritual.

I am a professed lover of yoga.

I had grand plans of keeping up with yoga while training for a half marathon. Then I threw in classes and life changes, and it just wasn't happening. I thrive on yoga, but I also thrive on sharing cups of coffee, meals and child care with the people who do life with me. I was not wanting to give up time with people for a life of nothing but work, books, and exercise.

(And maybe I was a little unintentional along the way.)

Running 13(.1) miles got kicked to the curb, because guess what? I'm still working on getting healthy (in all capacities) and part of that is recognizing how I am designed and then honoring that. I have felt great many times after a 4 mile run, but a double-digit run? Doesn't make my body feel good at all. At this point in my life, honoring my composition seems pretty important.

I feel best when I...

...practice yoga regularly.

...spend plenty of time in the kitchen. (I actually rarely feel the old familiar urge to binge when I give myself plenty of time to create yummy things.)

...take the opportunity to walk in the sunshine with my husband, when maybe we both might just as soon collapse on the nearest couch.

...and spend some time writing every day.

...act on the occasional impulse to sing at the top of my lungs or dance in the living room.

...read books by people much smarter than me.

...find ways to celebrate and then follow through.

What about you? What do you do that leaves you feeling your best?