MAKE IT STOOOOPPPPP

Wishful thinking on my part, I know. The memes and articles just go on and on and on and on and on and on and on AAAHHHHH. Seriously, noone’s mind was changed BEFORE the election, I highly doubt anyone’s mind will be changed AFTER the election, and the more sensationalized and entrenched BOTH sides get the more we just miss the point again and again and again.

I saw an article that-once you dug through the hype of what a horrible person Trump is (which I am not denying, but then again I honestly don’t think I’m a better person than he or Hillary, so I’m keeping my finger pointing to myself)-broke down how you should talk to your children about the government, and turn his presidential time as a period of learning and evaluation and discussion.

DUH!!! Guys, we get our moral fiber from our upbringing, not our presidents. We get our mindset from our parents, not our congressmen and women. We get our sense of fairness adjusted from play dates and mommies refereeing how to share and cooperate not our Supreme Court Justices. And who we become as adults is heavily, HEAVILY impacted by our childhood. What does that mean? It means if you want America great again and you’re a parent, you get up for the umpteenth time in the middle of the night, you bite back those words you want to shoot at your spouse because you are BOTH physically and emotionally exhausted, you wipe up vomit and snot, you answer the “why” questions while trying to pee, you do your best to explain everything from emotions to philosophy to biology broken down at the most basic levels while trying not to throw one of your offspring through a window in frustration. And as they get older, you think yourself stupid about how to handle emotionally charged discussions better/clearer. Are you being too strict? Not strict enough? You wait up all night to know they are  safe, you field their heartaches, you step back from their struggles to let them try on their own, you bite your darn tongue again and again and again and it never gets easier. You’re desperate and helpless and keep on trying anyway.

And adults who don’t have kids? You model adulthood and responsibility every second of your day. Clean up after yourself, don’t throw hissyfits when you don’t get your way, be polite, encourage your fellow neighbor, share, give sacrificially of your time and don’t moan about it. Shove your cynicism up your tucus and get a hold of yourself. Stop being selfish, pay it forward, don’t mock others, watch your language for your OWN sake as well as little ears, be aware of what you laugh at, what you tacitly approve as ok.

You are an example. Always. Sound exhausting? IT IS. But it is also the truth.

You want a better president? RAISE THEM. You want a better world for your children? RAISE THEM. You want a better future, a safer tomorrow, a change? PUT ON YOUR BIG BOOTS AND JUMP IN THE TRENCHES WITH THOSE OF US WHO ARE TRYING.

By trying, I do NOT mean endlessly posting articles about how such and such a group feels, or why so and so sucks, or howcome this happened, or let’s rehash all the scandal. It’s ok to feel, friends, whatever those emotions that got stirred up by this election. I am NOT comfortable with our future as a nation, friends. I’m not. But I am most uncomfortable because I see so many people trying to shift blame and responsibility on to everyone else (including our government) EXCEPT FOR themselves in a huge wave of sensationalism. It is not ok to keep wallowing in feelings. And continuing to post about reactions from BOTH sides is just dragging out the misery. Deep breath, process on your own time, take a step forward.

I am reaching to understand perspectives that aren’t my own, getting better at agreeing to disagree without causing offense, encouraging people to disagree with me so that I can GROW and show my children that discussion is vital, but animosity is poison. I don’t understand all the race issues in this country-but I’m trying. I don’t understand all the LGBT issues in this country-but I’m trying. I understand the sexual assault/harassment issues more than I’d like, it is just something I struggle with doing anything constructive about-but I keep trying. I may not come to the same conclusion as you or someone else-but I’m trying. I am initially limited by my upbringing and experiences, but I refuse to let that limit my personal growth because the future for my children depends on it. I will never agree with everyone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t or shouldn’t do my utmost best to sympathize and value them as people and search for the common grounds while holding my own values. It isn’t about everyone agreeing, it’s about getting along with those you don’t agree with so that respect has a chance of helping EVERYONE grow a bit more. And newsflash-if it’s easy, you aren’t doing it right. This should involve considerable swallowing of your temper, ego, and sarcasm. I know you have them, we all do, and we often think we’re “trying to get along” when really we’re just looking to do enough to pat ourselves on the head and then scurry back across to our flock of supporters with a “well, I tried” smugly stamped across our features-as if that excuses us.

How have you improved YOU, today? Hmm? How have you made the world a better place? And let me reiterate-working on being a better person should be uncomfortable, unpleasant, and frequently scary. I have never liked working on my faults, because that means I have to acknowledge them-and the more I acknowledge them the less I can skate around some weird idea that “they aren’t that bad”. I have never enjoyed apologizing because that means I’ve done something wrong, and by doing something wrong I have HURT people. I have laid scars on their lives. I have harmed them in ways that an apology can’t ever completely fix. I can enjoy the RESULTS of working on my self, but the process generally sucks. So if you are floating in a comfortable self analyzed lala land-you are part of the problem.

I am really uneasy about our future as a nation, few seem to realize that the division among the people getting deeper and deeper gives MORE power to the government and the person in office. It’s “WE the people” as a NATION that has power. And right now, that power is frighteningly divided among “us” which gives a lot more to whoever wins. If we could present a united front to our government, then we’d truly have the power to go “Ok, let’s see how you’re doing….yeah, nope. NEXT.” Instead we feud bitterly amongst ourselves and then the President/Congress really only has to worry about making HALF of the country happy. For once, just once, I really wish I could vote for a presidential candidate that I believed in without reservation. It has not happened for me yet, and may never will, but I’m gonna keep working at making myself, my family, my community better everyday.  Because THAT UNITY is what has the potential to make America great.

THIS MANY!

Cade is three, you guys. THREE. I have been a mom for THREE YEARS and everyone is still alive-even my husband! I wanted to deviate from my usual posts just to give a shout out to my little man.

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Two was a rough year for us. I know the coined term on parenting sites is “threenager” but for us (so far) the last month or so and into this first month of three has been a vast improvement over the previous year. Not that there weren’t many blessings and cuteness and heart over flowing moments! Just that there seemed to be at least an equal number of end of the rope, frustrated, self doubting, I HAVE KNOW IDEA WHAT I’M DOING moments.

His cognitive abilities seemed to expand way faster than his emotional control so he processed faster than he could communicate and experienced faster than he could learn to deal. The mismatch resulted in tantrums and meltdowns for both him AND me, ha. But the joy came in watching him overcome and grow. In watching the lightbulb moments. In seeing the repetitive endless work of parenting suddenly come back at me in it’s correct form. And in watching his exuberant personality blossom before my eyes.

He is my craft man. We do crafts multiple times a day. The more glue and glitter-the better. And paint. And sticky tape. And googly eyes. We bedazzle, snip, tear, paste, glob, smear, and sprinkle our way through the day. The dining area is littered with bits of frazzled pipe cleaners and abandoned paper shreds, and everything is coated in glitter (including my computer, sigh, lol). He hasn’t lost his love for being outdoors, but now we spend equal amounts of time drawing with sidewalk chalk as we do digging holes and gardening.

Speaking of drawing, he loves learning-especially letters. I’ve been casually doing a “letter a week” (mostly to keep myself on track and to give me inspiration for that week’s crafts) and we are finishing up the letter D. He draws H’s, t’s, C’s, A’s, E’s, F’s, and occasionally a D. Oh, and O’s, because they’re just circles, haha. On car trips he excitedly yells out letters that he spots on signs and sometimes numbers. His favorite number is “5” and he can do some addition and subtraction counting on his fingers (up to 10. He can count past 10 in order, but adding and subtraction that high is a bit much, understandably). He just views everything as a big game, and we plan on keeping it that way, no need to rush things. 🙂

He LOVES people, but is easily overwhelmed. He’s an intense little man, and tends to gravitate towards older kids or adults. But when he plays with you he wants to be fully engaged, and if too much is going on he gets upset. He has been doing so much better with other children since putting him in PWOC and Church Daycare twice a week for a few hours at a time, and he genuinely enjoys playing with other children now. He asks for “friends” everywhere we go, it’s super sweet.

He and Zane have become inseparable. Even when they are annoying each other they HAVE to be right next to each other. I don’t understand the code of brotherhood, but I love watching them figure it out. One minute they’ll be grr-ing and screeching and the next minute both will be belly laughing. The same thing that annoys them one second sends them into uncontrollable giggles the next. I have no way of predicting which way the moods will blow in the house, but whichever way it’ll be BOTH of them together. Cade is often super sweet with Zane, very concerned about his booboo’s (which Zane collects), and loving to “feed” Zane whatever he can. I love watching him ask Zane to help or ask him, “Do you want to play with me Zanebug?” He informs me of ALL of Zane’s actions, the good and the bad, and keeps me posted on how Zane is feeling as well, “Zane is crying because of his booboo mommy.” “Zane is grumpy because he wants more kiwi.” “Zane wants to go outside, too.” “Zane WANTS to share with me, mommy!” ….this last one is usually suspect, lol.

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I love the conversations, the random little boy insights, the theatrics, the eager demands for hugs and kisses. He is such a blessing in my life! I am in awe that he is already three, and looking forward to the next year of growth and adventures. <3

Nuts and Bolts

Ok, so, thanks for everyone so far who has read/commented/subscribed, I really appreciate it. I wanted to put some definitions/goals out there so that I’m transparent about what I’m aiming for with these posts.

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First off, I define clean eating as “nothing preprocessed.” Meaning, I avoid boxes, cans, and packages when I grocery shop. I also don’t use refined sugar (I made the switch to coconut sugar if I use any sugar at all). I DO, however, process my own food-meaning, I cook (poorly, but hey, work with me here.) I have exceptions-I buy canned tomato sauce no salt added (ingredients are tomatoes and citric acid) and I still buy pasta. I bake from scratch all bread/tortilla/muffins etc (so no, I’m not gluten free). Honestly, clean eating really does sound faddish and a bit stupid, but the goal is basically not to consume a bunch of preservatives and unnecessary crap.

I still use dairy, but I am increasingly trying to find recipes without it because Cade has a dairy sensitivity that makes his skin break out. I am hoping to eventually find a small farm I can get milk directly from the source so to speak, because boy does it make a difference, but in the mean time, we don’t use a lot of milk. I don’t buy any cheese with natamycin in it (a mold inhibitor) but we do eat a substantial amount of Fage greek yogurt (substantial as in-one container every 2 days). Eventually I’ll get around to making my own like my neighbor just for the wonders whey does for bread baking. 😛

I follow the “80/20” rule-I eat clean 80% of the time and don’t worry about it for the 20%. Honestly, it gets harder and harder to “eat dirty” haha. I can’t stomach anymore a lot of the foods that used to be a staple part of my diet…but I don’t say no to the occasional homemade batch of cookies. 😉

**This did not happen overnight! It took me almost a year to “eat clean” so to speak, and I didn’t have a lot of bad habits to break to begin with.**

GOAL: I’d like to do some clean eating challenges on here if people were willing. It’d be basically be a few days of prep and then 5 days of eating clean and reporting what you ate. I’ve done a clean eating challenge on my friend and coach’s page and the accountability does wonders. Also, I like to keep things positive about food and it’s a great way to scope out new recipes. 😛 Food is fantastic, I have no desire to deprive myself of all the wonders of eating, ha.

On to the exercise: Confession time.

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I love exercise you guys. I love it-maybe too much. It does wonders to fight off depression, to balance my mood, to revel in this amazingly strong yet fragile body I’ve been given, exercise does me good-body and soul. That said, I struggle, just like a lot of people, to get my lazy rear in gear and DO IT. But then, to compound the matter, when I DO get on an exercise streak and am feeling fit and fine and fancy, I can go overboard. Right now I’m trying to tone it back a hair.

WARNING PERSONAL INFORMATION AHEAD Brian and I are thinking about baby numero tres and my cycle has been flakey these last three months-possibly because I went from no running to running 5 times a week and breaking speed PR’s left and right. :/ END WARNING ALL CLEAR OF TMI.

It’s been SO NICE to run! To get out of the house away from the needs and demands of wife and mom and just, go. I don’t want to give it up, but my body is telling me I need to back off, and it sucks. I’m sticking with 3 days a week and keeping it to 3 miles and under. Why am I telling you this? Because, readers/friends/hecklers, I would like to live vicariously through you. Tell me of your fabulous exercise regimes, the fun, the failures, the sweat and exhaustion and then that smug sense of accomplishment.

GOAL: Somehow, some way, I am going to make exercise accountability/story time a part of this blog, because I need it.

Why all this hype about accountability? Well, that is it’s own blog post, but in a nutshell-it works. I am using Beachbody to hold me accountable-I stalked my coach, Danielle, ‘s page for over a year and watched her drop 60+lbs with clean eating, exercise, and accountability. So that’s the system I’m using. I am NOT, however, asking you to do the same. You need to find what works for you as a system, there are plenty of them out there. I am hoping you’ll help add to my accountability with comments and emails and challengey stuff though (just through the blog, no need to sign up for anything except reading my silly posts), because I’m a flake when it comes to consistency, so the more people watching (waiting for me to screw up–I mean, ahem, encouraging me) the better I’ll do.

AND -the biggest goal I have for this blog- I think it’d be really cool to help others create and keep nutrition and fitness goals, so if you’ve got some goals and want some accountability right back I’d love to return the favor. 🙂

Where to begin…

So, I, uh, have this new blog here and, well, I’d love for you to follow/subscribe and read what I have to say. But no pressure! People have there own lives, I totally get it, busy raising families and making careers and stuff. But, if you get bored or something, you could maybe read a post or two just as something to take your mind of things, right? Just think about it…

What’s it about? Oh. Well, I was kinda hoping you wouldn’t ask because then I’m pretty sure you’re going to either roll your eyes or run away screaming. I’m fine with the eye rolling, heavens knows I’ve done more than my fair share while setting this up. I am so far outside my comfort zone I’m going to need to live in a Holiday Inn Express to make this work-but the thing is, when it’s all said and done, it’s important to me.

I’ve always been an exercisey type person, from gymnastics to a brief stint swimming, track and field (hurtles and hugh jump), to martial arts to ultra marathons-I’ve always loved physical activity, and I use it to fight off depression and to keep myself centered and calm. But I never really bothered eating right because, well, I’m skinny so I don’t have to, right?

Nope. It started with a tiny blip on the radar. An ultrasonic one. All of a sudden it wasn’t just ME I was hurting with fast food binges and vegetable avoidance, now I had a little blip that was suffering my poor choices as well. So I started being a little pickier about my meals, upping my salad and trying to avoid greasy stuff. I had no clue beyond the “I should eat more fruits and veggies and less fat, right?” Then that blip became a baby, a breastfeeding baby who was *still* dependent on me for nourishment. Then I was pregnant again while the baby started solid foods. Nutrition was looking a heck of a lot more important everyday, and exercise became more and more challenging to squeeze in between diaper changes and feedings.

To make a long story short (for now) I’ve started “eating clean” so to speak along with maintaining my exercise. It continues to be a juggling act, what with two small children and a husband in flight school. I’ve found the value of eating well exponentially improves my workout experiences and I continue to try and figure out ways to be healthier for my sanity as well as the for the health of my kids. This blog is hopefully going to be an accountability type thing for me- a way to publicly hold myself to my goals by sharing my success and my failures, as well as to organize a place where I can easily find all the articles and studies that have shaped my understanding of health. I’d appreciate any and all type of “followers” whether you are the “pass me the other cupcake while I read this moron’s health post” type or the “I can relate to this” fellow aspiring health nut. Feedback is always welcome.

If you made it all the way to the end of this post, thanks, it’s a start. 🙂