Might Mommy Monday

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday! Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter and I have decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. I’ve set a few goals for 2014, but my biggest is to swim a total of 30 freestyle miles this year. Join us!

I know… how is Monday already?!  Phew! Currently, my county is under a level 2 snow emergency, which means I’m not going to leave the house for yet another day. I had planned to attend a Booty Barre class over the weekend, but it was canceled due to the weather, so it’s on the back burner for next week. It’s disappointing and since the nights are going to be so cold, I stay home and workout here. The end of this week is supposed to be a toasty 20+ degrees, so I’m hoping all my classes will be back on target!

In the evenings, especially after a day cooped up, all I want to do is  sit on the couch and watch tv. And you know how that goes: I tell myself that I’ll just watch half an hour and then I’ll do something. Two hours later, I’m still sunk in the couch and haven’t done anything. So I got to work on a plan. I’m good at multitasking, so this works for me. It might work for you, but it might not… if it doesn’t take these moves and apply them to a different part of your day!

When watching tv, I get off the couch during the commercials. To keep things interesting, I do my move of choice based on the type of tv ad:

  • Food/restaurant commercial – Do 15 decline push-ups
  • Fashion commerical – 30 Russian Twists
  • Movie trailer/Tv show promo – 20 leg lifts (each side)
  • Travel commercial – PLANK!!!
  • Heath/Beauty commercial – 20 Long Lever Crunches (10 each leg)
  • News byte – Sumo Squat for the entire clip
  • Other commercials – Arm Circles for the entire length

I bring my weights to the living room and add them in for the Russian twists, Long Lever Crunches and Arm Circles.  And on the few nights a week that we watch our shows, I can wake up the next morning with sore muscles… and a smile.

How do you like to squeeze in a little workout into your day?  Would you do any different moves or add another category to my list?

No Skeletons Here!

Yesterday afternoon, my living room looked like this: 

Today… I can see the carpet! I probably should have been out shoveling like all of my neighbors, but, um, I didn’t want to. And really, it’s so satisfying for me to look at the closet, with the organized baskets, coats that are actually being used and freshly painted walls. I sorted through all our coats, purged out the ones that are no longer the right size (that was embarrassing… 4 for me!) and took the kids’ snow gear to the basement to be treated for stains and washed. When it comes to kids’ outerwear, I’m finding that if you purchase brand names on sale, you’ll find excellent deals and you can resell them once you’re done with them for a tidy profit.

With this project completed and reminding me how wonderful a time of year it is to start the clean/purge/paint cycle, I’m working on a Spring Cleaning list. And by “spring”, I mean done-before-spring-so-I-can-run-and-play-outside! Lots of little projects, closets to paint, bins to organize, that kind of stuff. I always check out the posts on I Heart Organizing and Clean Mama for tips, inspiration and how-tos.  As I was telling my friend, Nina, this morning, I’d have never thought to paint the inside of a closet until I saw it done on I Heart Organizing! And wow! What an impact!

As the snow continues to fall, I’ll be here, making my lists, and planning for the time when I can go outside. The planning is what keeps me content; knowing there’s an order to my time gives me hope for the sunshine!

Hot stuff!

At some point in our early married life, Matt discovered the Pappy’s Sauce line. I honestly can’t remember if we were on our honeymoon in Savannah or if we were vacationing in Oak Island with family, but during one of those trips, he discovered the stuff and has been a loyal customer ever since. One Christmas, I purchased a gift set for him and we discovered The Hottest Ride in Town.

For the record, I don’t like hot sauce. I’d rather dice up some jalapenos and call it a day. But the hubs, he loves his sauces. Anyway, this week I tried Bang Bang Cauliflower and while it was so not worth the work, I discovered that the Hottest Ride makes for an amazing dipping sauce for roasted cauliflower! Just mix with 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise and 1 Tablespoon onion powder! This little dip is up to your standard of spice, so you get to decide how much of the sauce to add. It’s good with raw and roasted veggies, summer sausage and crackers and chips!

If you live in Indiana, I’d suggest a trip to Pappy’s Market. If you aren’t, HotSauce.com can help you out. 🙂 We’ve tried a number of sauces that they carry and they certainly live up to their names… and several of the items in the Pain is Good line.  Which reminds me that I should order a batch of Jerk Nuts for the hubs’ birthday next week!

So what about you? Do you like spicy or mild? And how do you feel about cauliflower?

Ordinary days

As I sit here typing, my children are playing house. Rather, they are playing “grocery shopping as a family” which I find amusing since I think we’ve only grocery shopped a handful of time as a family in the last 4 years… so their imaginary play is really digging deep today! My house is clean, laundry is caught up – essentially this day is perfect.

Now, before you unfollow this blog because I dared to say these things, please understand this: today is rare. And I am soaking it up. Why? Because I have small children. And a pug (that addition should definitely give me bonus points in my housekeeping). My life is not like this more than a few days out of the month. The other days? Well, either the laundry is caught up or the house is.  I can’t keep it all under control. I’m only one person and truthfully, I still spend a large percentage of my day helping someone in the potty (even the pug). So every day there are new challenges, new messes and new ways to feel that I am a giant failure. Especially since I have always been a very fussy housekeeper. 9.5 weeks after we said “I do”, I completely flipped out on my husband for wearing his grassy shoes in the house, walking up the white-carpeted stairs, into our bedroom and leaving them lay on the closet floor shedding grass clippings like a hippie. Did I overreact? Absolutely. But just so you know, we now have a doormat and a boot tray.

But I guess the point to this post is that in the past few years, I’ve learned to embrace and even welcome the chaos that comes with small children. Gosh. The chaos that comes with life! There are nights that I got to bed with the dishes undone because I am just too tired. I will do them in the morning. Some nights, I just want to hang out with my husband and not fold laundry. So I kick the toys that always gravitate to the living room aside and we watch a movie. I force myself to sit still and just BE. The laundry will not actually grow legs and leave the house in protest of wrinkles. But his need for companionship is far greater than my need for tidiness.

Recently, I read this lovely post by a sweet mama in Oklahoma:

“I chose to pursue motherhood. I chose to forego a career and become a stay-at-home wife and mom. I chose to homeschool….  So why in the world was I acting surprised everytime my kids ate and the kitchen table was covered with food and sticky fingerprints? Why did I sigh every time we decided to go somewhere and I had to pack diaper bags and load carseats? When was I going to stop talking about how many (or how few) hours of sleep I had received the night before? How long was I planning on exclaiming over how many times a day I had to sweep the kitchen floor?”

I read her post and laughed and laughed. I really didn’t know that children don’t sleep. I was under the impression that the “2 am feeding” was an urban myth created for the sake of movies and story books. For the record, I don’t know that we’ve ever had a 2 am feeding. But we have had the 1130pm-1am-115am-245am-oh-for-the-love-of-all-that-is-holy-WHY-is-she-awake-again-5am feedings. I knew kids were messy. I knew kids needed to be taught everything and come with far more accessories than one ever could imagine. I was aware that I’d have to remind myself to close the bathroom door when I’m outside the home because not everyone is going to come in as me for the “42 Ironman” and can’t reach the door handle. And I knew how much I’d loathe carseats. But I am the daughter of a policeman and I follow the very letter of the law.

I just stood in the kitchen while my 2 and half year old princess debated over which piece of peanut butter sandwich left over from the lunch she ran off in the middle of she was going to eat. It is remarkable how enormous this decision is to a child. I stood there and waited until she chose. And then the words “don’t make a mess” came out of my mouth as she skipped away. Why do I still say that? After almost 5 years of parenting these children, I know they make messes. It inherent to this season of life and yet I find myself admonishing them to be “neater”.

It’s my job right now to teach her and her brother how to be “neater”, but it is also my job to watch the standards I set. In 20 years, give or take, they will each (hopefully) have their own homes and families. By that time, I’ll have a clean home every day. My laundry will not mock me from the pile in the basement. And I’ll be sleeping through the night without someone throwing their lovie and batman pillow on my head as they crawl in to snuggle. My children will not remember the days of constant messes. They won’t remember me sitting the piles of laundry and crying because I’m just too tired from the night before to even think about where to begin. They will remember the example I set for them as I go about caring for the home and my family. And I don’t want my daughter to sit in her home, with her babies wondering how she will survive these years. I don’t want my son to come home and think his wife is a failure because she couldn’t balance the babies and house and her mental health.

These days of messy counters, Lego piles, princess dresses and potty helpers are so short. I will always remember them and I honestly pray that I don’t forget how I felt as a new mother, as a mother grieving the loss of a baby, as a mother wondering where her toddler got so much energy when the baby kept the house awake every night. When my memory fades, there are photos. Photos of the messes, the laundry that is out of control, the toy explosion, the orange crayon all. over. the. couch. I am so imperfect and I am totally ok with it. Alright, maybe not totally, but I am embracing it… one disaster at a time. 🙂



Mighty Mommy Monday – update and some inspiration

It’s Mighty Mommy Monday Claim the Mighty Mommy title for yourself — every day, not just Mondays. Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health: workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. Join Abbie from Farmer’s Daughter and I every week for our posts and link-up!

How was your week?  Did you stick to your goals or are you losing your excitement? I get bored really easily with exercising. While I was growing up, my mother did the same exercise tape (yes, VHS tape) six days a week. The same tape. The same time of day. The same sweatsuit. Nope. Nope. Nope.

While I was in college, I had to have a P.E. credit for every semester I was enrolled as a full-time student. During my 4 years at that school, I took everything from life-guarding, badminton (I’m really awesome), and weight lifting to your basic aerobic classes. I don’t like to have the same workout schedule for very long and don’t even like to have the same instructors for classes.  I need variety.  So this week, I changed everything I was doing up, tried out a new ab class at the Y, added in an extra swim workout and checked out some new dvds. As I sit here typing, I ache. The muscles in my body were challenged extra hard this week because everything was so new! The ab class? Psht. So easy. I was actually concerned that I wasted my time, until the next morning when even my ribs ached from the exercises. Yay!

So this week, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite places for inspiration. My measurements and weight have stalled out so I’m trying to come up with new ideas that keep me encouraged and not focused on how I’m still battling the belly bulge. Surgery tore through the muscles and I can tell that they are still weak, so all the work I did before November feels as though it was wasted… I won’t lie. I cried yesterday morning because the sweater I tried on didn’t fit right and I felt very much like a hippo. When the hippo-vision starts it’s hard to drag myself to the gym, but I made myself go and wound up with a lovely swim while the sun streamed in through the windows, bouncing off the snow. I used my swim time as an opportunity to pray about my attitude, which really needed some work, my family and my personal goals. By the time I got out of the water I was refreshed and in a much better frame of mind!

Ok.  Enough about me. On the places I head to when I’m looking for inspiration!

  • Pumps and Iron  I love this blog! She has lots of enthusiasm and new ideas and her workouts are really easy to find since she has them organized by type, target area, equipment and timing.
  • Back on Pointe  Another winner as far as I am concerned. Not a whole lot of chatter, just simple workouts. Easy to skim through and pick out something new for my day.
  • Crossfit at home – I’ve found quite a few ideas on Pinterest, but this is one of my favorites:
  • And for when I need something to new to keep me motivated in the pool? Kickboard drills!

Link up here or at Farmer’s Daughter with your fitness posts this week! We look forward to hearing about your week!

Finish it Friday – 2014 First!

I started working on this quilt right after the first of the year. I had thought that I’d be able to put it off a little bit longer, but since Matt bought Sylvi a mattress weeks ahead of when I thought he planned to, I had to scramble. The pattern is one that I was given at a quilt guild meeting and since it was just a black and white sketch I was anxious to see how all the pieces would come together!

I was in LOVE with the Noteworthy line from  Sweetwater so I’ve been working to figure out how to incorporate those colors into Sylvi’s room. I was fortunate enough to find a comforter and sheets at Target that coordinated perfectly with the Noteworthy line, so they held us over until I could finish the quilt… yesterday.

This quilt is made of four different blocks and then arranged in a gird to create the cascading effect. Personally, I really enjoy piecing and I was sad when it came to an end. Simple and really a lot of fun to make, I’m so grateful I went to quilt guild that day! I started to quilt this in an allover squiggly pattern, got about 1/6 of the way and decided I hated it. Not just a mild dislike stemming from a desire for perfection, I just could not stand how it looked. For the record, it took almost 8 hours to pick out each stitch. In the future, I will just stick to the simple quilting lines I like. In the end, I quilted diagonal wavy lines about 2 inches apart. By keeping the quilting to a minimum, the result is a soft blanket, accented by slight puffs of batting. I’m thrilled with the result! Matt is building a headboard and I’m hoping to have it set up this weekend.

I am taking a break from quilting for a little bit so I can start to work on Sylvi’s Spring/Summer wardrobe. I asked Liam if he wanted a quilt and he said no, he likes what he has. 🙁 I really want to make a quilt for his bed! Maybe he’ll let me make one for when he goes to college?  Sheesh. In the meantime, Sylvi and I sat down and talked about the colors she wanted for each of the dress patterns I have selected. Pink. She isn’t impressed with the materials I already bought, so I guess she and I will have to do some shopping soon!

Mighty Mommy Monday

Welcome *hack* Monday *cough* *sniffle* *hack*

Oh yeah. I got knocked down Monday evening and thought a solid night’s worth of sleep would be helpful. Oh no. Tuesday and Wednesday I was absolutely miserable and by Friday I could barely sit upright. So…. no exercising for me. I feel that it’s important to mention that typically speaking, a cold does not keep me from sweating. In college, I had a friend who told me that whenever I felt something coming on, it was time to hit the gym and sweat out the germs in my body. Flawed theory? Perhaps, but I followed it for years, hitting the gym as soon as I started feeling icky in an attempt to ward off a cold.

I’ve googled whether or not this is a good idea, asked my doctor and the trainers at the gym and the general consensus is that if you don’t have a fever and you feel strong enough, a light workout isn’t a bad idea. But. If you cannot stand up without passing out or have horribly swollen glands, I’d suggest staying home. And if you’re in Abbie’s situation this week… just pray you survive.

Yesterday, I made it an entire day without being dizzy or lightheaded which is awesome. I haven’t walked into any doors and I am far less grumpy. Today, I will attempt a full abs workout and upper body weights. I say attempt, but I fully intend to succeed! And then, I’m gonna CLEAN this house like the dickens. We still smell like every essential oil in the cold/flu arsenal, but a little elbow grease never hurt!

So how was your week? Healthy? Disappointing? Empowering? Share with us!

Mighty Mommy Mondays

Here we are in the first full week of January! How are you doing with working out? Eating well? Drinking your water?

For the first 6 weeks of the year, my plan is to do the Jillian Michaels 6 week 6 pack dvd five days a week and go to the Y twice a week to swim.  The weather here is bitterly cold and the Y actually closed on my planned swim day at the end of last week! Here, one of the key indicators that the weather is bad is if the Y or the library close… BOTH closed! And with the temperatures what they are predicting for the first part of the week, I’ll be using our treadmill instead of venturing out! The good news is that I almost have the 6W6P dvd memorized 🙂

The kids have the dvd pretty much memorized as well. For me, watching the kids exercise alongside me is one of my greatest reasons to continue working toward my goals. Neither one of them has the moves down like Jillian and her girls, but they have the enthusiasm! I’m so proud watching them stick it out through the moves, asking me for weights and cheering me on. During my rest day last week, Liam was bothered that I didn’t exercise. According to him, I should have done some “push ups or sompfin”.

I have a few friends who are very healthy and challenge me to care for myself, and as much as they’ve inspired me with their personal drive, it’s how their health has impacted their children that keeps me going. Their children run, swim, bike and play with everything they have because they’ve learned healthy habits from their mothers (and fathers, I’m sure, but I don’t really know the dads very well). This is what I want for my children! The opportunity to be strong and healthy their whole lives. It’s so much easier to get strong while you are young… before the kids, the stretch marks and the sleepless nights. I’m not one to push my children into a specific mold, but I am thrilled to watch them determine they like the mold I’m working on with my own health and want to join in!

What progress did you make toward your health & fitness goals in the past week? Share in the comments and/or go write a post about it and come back to link it up here! Feel free to use our Mighty Mommy Mondays badge in your posts or on your side bar, with a link back here, to spread the word. In the spirit of community and encouragement, please take some time to visit the other posts linked below and see what kind of goals everyone else has set for 2014. And don’t forget to come back here or to Farmer’s Daughter every Monday to share your progress!

Finish it Friday – 2013 Quilt round up

I decided last year that it was time to start quilting. I knew that the months of January and February were going to be ones where Matt wasn’t home much because of a huge project at work so I needed something to keep myself busy. I had this idea that I’d whip through these projects and I’d be snuggling under my quilts in no time. I started out with a project from Pinterest that wasn’t really a quilt and I realized that I had a long way to go before I’d really be “good”.

But once I made that first project, I had to make one for Sylvi too.  So I hunted around, found a pattern that used pre-cuts and got to work. It was very simple piecing and yet it challenged me because it was really my first time piecing together long rows of fabric. I also learned a HUGE lesson about buying quality fabrics with that quilt. I spent almost double on the material for Sylvi’s quilt than I did for Liam’s, but when the time came to wash them, his quilt shrunk by almost 6 inches.

I tackled another quilt, this time for a friend’s baby and quickly discovered how badly I needed a quarter inch presser foot. Funky angles come together much easier if you are precise in your stitching and that handy little foot made a huge difference for me!

Over the summer, I made pillow covers from a kit and learned I don’t like hexagons (yet) and I put together a table runner using a pattern from the quickly growing pile of quilting magazines in my bedroom. I enlisted the help of a lady in town to help me calculate the measurements for a quilt I wanted to make for my bestie’s new baby. I tried sewing with minkee for that one. I don’t like it.

With those projects under my belt, I bought a jelly roll of Winter’s Lane fabrics to reward myself for surviving the tri and started cutting for our winter quilt. It took me a little over 2 months to cut, piece, quilt and bind, but I absolutely love the end result.   I made matching stockings for our family from a pattern I got from ThimbleBlossoms.

To end the year, I made 3 more baby quilts. One for a friend having her third boy, one for my cousin’s much anticipated baby and one for a friend who is adopting a little girl, due in a few weeks. That last quilt, I finished binding on New Year’s Eve while I watched The Hobbit with Matt.

As I looked back over this year, I was overcome with all the challenges that this quilts were present for. Emotionally I grew a lot, as did my piecing skills. I started cutting piecing a quilt last night for Sylvi’s bed and I’m so excited to watch it take shape, be finished and loved in the weeks, months and years to come.

Mighty Mommy Mondays – An Introduction!

In the last few years, I started to take some time out for myself to get strong again.  In high school and college, I was dedicated to staying healthy.  I ran, swam, played tennis, lifted weights (I used to be able to bench press 175 lbs!!); I kept myself busy and active. But life happened and I told myself I didn’t deserve to take time to exercise.

I got my inspiration back because I joined up with local moms through Mommy and Me Fitness… big things happened in my life because I got inspired (read my testimony here!). I set my own goals once again because I realized I could! I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the burn of a good workout! In 2013, I challenged myself and signed up for a Warrior Dash and a Triathlon. The Warrior Dash was a blast! The triathlon was anything but. I was terrified the entire time I was there and the open water swim? Gah. It’s going to take me years to get past that!

After I’d patted my back for surviving the tri, I needed another goal. At that time, Abbie from Farmer’s Daughter was posting about the wonderful progress she made working toward her goal of swimming a continuous mile! Once again, I got inspired and started swimming many, many laps. Of course, once I got started I remember how much I loved swimming and really looked forward to my time in the pool.

So here we are, starting another year… and another opportunity to get stronger. Abbie and I put our heads together and we’ve decided to challenge you on a weekly basis.  Claim the MIghty Mommy title for yourself, every day, not just Mondays 🙂 Every week, we’ll host a link up for you to tell us what you’re doing to take care of your health; workouts, menu plans, how to keep your family active, etc. Abbie set the goal of swimming 50 miles in 2014! Me? I want more muscle. (Cue Jillian Michaels dvds.) I also set the goal of regular workouts that will help me cover 30 swimmers miles this year. I want to shift from breaststroke to freestyle, so I know I’m going to have to restart the Zero to 1650 plan to work my way up.

What does “Mighty Mommy” mean to you? To me it means that I’m capable of being my truest self. I am at a point in my life where perfection is no longer my goal… heck, it’s not even on my radar anymore! What I do want is joy, strength and self-esteem. Not only for myself, but for my children. My parents were far from overweight, my mother in particular. I remember that her weight “battle” was to gain; she was petite, had perfect skin that darkened to a glorious tan without much effort and had jet black hair. And yet, I never heard a positive word from her about her body. I’ve written before about self-esteem and I’m determined to be the voice in my children’s heads that tells them they are beautiful. But in order to do that, I’ve got to make sure my own voice is positive! Every time my muscles burn from a good workout, I feel powerful. When I see my sweaty hair and face in the mirror after a run, I feel beautiful. And every time I do something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do, I feel Mighty!!

Have you set a healthy goal for 2014? Join us this year with your posts, your goals, your accomplishments, your failures, your dreams. Share in the comments and/or go write a post about it and come back to link it up here!  The wonder of internet communities is that we can be a support for each other – even from afar! Feel free to use our Mighty Mommy Mondays badge in your posts or on your side bar, with a link back here, to spread the word. In the spirit of community and encouragement, please take some time to visit the other posts linked below and see what kind of goals everyone else has set for 2014. And don’t forget to come back here or to Farmer’s Daughter every Monday to share your progress!