Summer is for Swimming

Summer is definitely our favorite time of year. School is out for the boys and everything feels much more relaxed. We try not to over-schedule ourselves and leave plenty of room for our favorite summer activity – swimming!

We are very lucky that my parents have a pool. And since we only live about 15 minutes from them we are there quite a bit letting the kids do their thing.

I swear I hear, “Mom, watch this!” about 1,000 times when they’re swimming.

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Our kids love to do anything outdoors, but with the heat we’ve been having, swimming is pretty much the only thing you can do outside at this point. They love it so much they don’t ever want to get out. My little fish!

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Even our Sawyer girl loves to swim! She has always loved water from the time she was a newborn so we knew swimming would probably be one of her favorite activities as well.

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I think outdoor play is so important to our family’s well-being. I love the days when our entire family can go for a walk around the neighborhood or play basketball in the driveway.

The experts at IPEMA explored the hottest trends in play and found outdoor fitness to be one of them. There really is something everyone can enjoy. Naaman and I both love running outdoors and the kids, well, they beg to go outside for anything (even in the winter!).

We have a couple more months of swimming ’til we drop. Now I’ve got to stop typing and watch my kids do their tricks!

 

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and Voice of Play. All opinions are mine alone.
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When Your Therapist Finally Says the Words You Want to Hear

I met with my therapist this week, just as I have been doing every week for over a year now. And for the first time in a long time I ran out of things to say. She said this is the best I’ve looked and sounded since I started coming to her last May. At first I was shocked to hear those words. After all I’ve been through I never thought I would hear those words. But then I realized, no, it’s not a shock. I’ve been taking better care of myself and it has clearly paid off.

We actually ended our session ten minutes early. Better yet, she thought it would be okay to stretch my next appointment out to mid-July. Mostly because of Fourth of July. But still, it’s pretty awesome that she feels I’m safe to go three weeks without seeing her.

I honestly feel like celebrating!

So what changed? Why am I doing better?

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First, our big move helped immensely. We were both SO stressed all the time. While the actual moving process was terribly stressful on our entire family, once we got here, it ended up being one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

Moving to this new house means I can work from home doing the things I love so much – writing and photography. The freedom to pursue my passions is a true blessing. Seriously, I am so so so grateful to get to do what I love and to own my time while doing it.

The week after we moved I finally laced up and went for a run in our new neighborhood. It was such a difficult but beautiful run. Once again, I felt free to pursue another passion of mine – running. I stopped doing it regularly last fall. I hadn’t realized it but with the depression I had gained a whopping 18 pounds! Thanks a lot, depression!!! I guess it was basically a free-for-all with food and zero activity for about five months. Not good.

So now I’ve been running every other day for a month and I can already feel my body (and my brain) changing. I’ve got those happy endorphins back! I think they have made such a huge difference in my recovery. I’ve also been eating healthier and completely kicked my diet coke addiction. I’m drinking a ton of water now! I’m not looking to get skinny. I’m looking to get strong. Both physically and mentally.

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I’m also trying to get enough sleep. That’s tough with Sawyer wanting to wake up at 5:30 a.m. now. But it just means an earlier bedtime for me. Sleep is so important to my well-being. I can’t stress enough how dangerous lack of sleep is for me. It is a big trigger for my moods so I have to make sure I’m getting enough.

I’ve been following through with taking my meds every day. I kind of hate being so reliant on drugs to keep me going but I am trying to find peace with it. They save my life every single day. I should absolutely love them, not hate them!

Finally, writing again has been very therapeutic for me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this space to write and to connect with all of my readers. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life! Telling stories will always be a part of who I am. And I’m so glad you want to read them.

It’s good to be back. It really is.

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3 Ways to Revolutionize Dinnertime

3 Ways to Revolutionize Dinnertime

Dinnertime in our household is definitely one of the most chaotic times for us. I’ve heard this from a lot of my family and friends. When the kids get home from school and the work day ends, so begins the challenge to get dinner on the table.

I’m not going to lie – it can be a bit of a mess. Sometimes the kids are tired and there’s whining about homework. Sometimes, and let’s be real, it’s me who’s doing the whining. When tummies are growling and people are exhausted it makes sense that our moods would plummet.

Growing up my mom always had a nice dinner ready for everyone. God bless her, I don’t know how she did it. But I have good memories of dinnertime and I really really want the same for my kids.

I’m probably not alone in this, am I?

Over the years of parenting we have found some things that have worked to make this time of day better for us.

3 Ways to Revolutionize Dinnertime

Push dinnertime back

Now, I know what you might be thinking. They are begging you for food at 5:00 p.m. and you’ve got to get a meal on the table. This is why snack time is your friend. When kids get home from school you need to give them something that will fill them up for awhile. That way, you’re not rushed to make dinner right when everyone gets home. I personally like to eat early. But I’ve noticed if I push dinner back just by thirty minutes, everyone eats better. Plus, you don’t feel like a chicken with your head cut off!

Say no to technology

Resist the urge to let your children play with their phones/tablets at the table. You may obviously get some push back on this but I really put my foot down on this rule. I mean, we have all day to be on technology. We should have a few times that are super important to actually look at each other and connect. Family meals should be one of those. All technology is turned off and put away while eating dinner. And one person can’t get up until all the others have eaten.

Implement “Good Things”

Sometimes you need to spark a conversation so we started what we call “Good Things.” We simply go around the table and say at least one good thing that happened that day. This puts an immediate positive spin on things no matter what happened throughout the day. I know I’ve been sitting there before thinking, ugh, nothing good can come of this day. But when we start “Good Things” it forces me to think of something. Even if it’s just, “sitting here with my family eating dinner.” That’s a very good thing! The kids absolutely love this and now if we forget to do it they will remind us :)

So see, just a few simple things that can truly revolutionize your family dinnertime experience!

A Different Snacking Option with Lil’ Beanies

Gerber Lil Beanies

We recently went for a doctor’s appointment for Sawyer.  While everything checked out fine (and she’s 32 pounds of cuteness!) I mentioned that I thought something was going on with her tummy. We weren’t quite sure what it was but there definitely seems to be some digestive issues as of late.

Our doctor mentioned getting more protein and fiber in her diet. She loves fruit and veggies but we needed an easy, healthy snacking option for her.

Gerber® Lil’ Beanies™ is a nutritious baked snack that has 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber per serving.

Lil’ Beanies™ is the perfect snack made from the goodness of navy beans, it has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Seriously, I can’t believe they are made from beans! Look at those cute dimpled fingers just grabbing away!

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Sawyer tried them and loves this snack. Bonus that they are so easy to throw in a little bag for on-the-go snacking this summer.

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They come in original and white cheddar and broccoli flavors. I purchased them at Walmart in the baby food aisle.

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Lil’ Beanies are lip-smacking, snacking according to Sawyer! And I’m glad to know we found a different snack option that’s fun for her!

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The One Thing that Helped Me Learn to Exercise Guilt-Free

Learn to exercise guilt-free

I’ve been a mom for almost eight years and have only just begun making exercise a priority. Why did it take me so long to make a solid attempt at getting healthy?

Because I felt guilty about it.

That’s right. I had exercise guilt.

How many times have you thought about exercising but guilt stopped you? You spend all day either working or taking care of your kids, yet you can’t bring yourself to carve out a mere thirty minutes to take care of yourself!

Learn to exercise guilt-free

So how did I get over the guilt and get started on a path to wellness? I had a very tough run of sickness last winter. I spent a lot of time in my bed with different illnesses missing out on life. It was all because I hadn’t been taking care of myself for a long time. I’d let myself go.

My body’s natural defenses were nowhere to be found.

I knew what I needed to do to get healthy but I was stopped in my tracks by the “mom-guilt.” Inside my brain I heard . . .

My kids need me. My husband needs me. I should be spending the next thirty minutes with them – not exercising!

It was my husband who eventually helped push me out the door to go for my first run, which led to my first 5k. He said, “Go honey, I’ve got this.” And the rest is history.

When I realized the world would not come crashing down without me, that’s when I finally felt free to exercise.

If you’re like I was, unhealthy and unhappy, but you don’t think your family can spare you? Believe me – THEY CAN! The little bit of time you spend on yourself will help you so much when it comes time to take care of everyone else.