In Memoriam

Image Credit: TNT Emerson

I love that our nation takes the time to honor and celebrate those who risk, and have given, their lives in dedication to our country on Veterans, Memorial, Independence, and Labor Day. The sacrifices that these men and women make for future generations is one of the greatest gifts that could ever be given to the people of this nation. I feel like I always say the same thing when I make a post dedicated to our troops but there really is not enough ‘thanks’ in the world that can effectively articulate how incredibly grateful I am and how proud I am to be an American.

I’ve been asking myself a lot of those big questions lately (in terms of what I believe): Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? The one thing I keep coming back to is that maybe the answers to those questions don’t matter as much as this: We are here. We are here with one another. We are here with one another and we should make the most of of that. We should strive to be better than our forefathers, to give hope to the children of the world, and to provide the kind of example that will make a lasting and positive impact on those who will come after us. The men and women of our armed forces, law enforcement, and emergency services do just that. More so than any professional athlete, musician, or actress: the men and women who dedicate their careers and their lives in service to their people are truly an inspiration. They are who I want my child (and subsequent future children, maybe someday) to look up to and admire.

To those who give their time and all of their efforts: Thank you.

To the families of our dearly departed: Thank you. 

As we move forward into the hustle and bustle of summer, I hope we can all take a little bit of time to express our gratitude for the freedoms we have, and the people who work to get them for us. Happy Memorial Day.

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I Really Should Be Asleep… (Revolt Week 3 Review)

revoltCover

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may remember that I’m participating in a 12 week wellness challenge (“uprising”) called Revolt Now Fitness. We’re now in week three but, in case you missed out, you can find my first two posts here: Revolt Now Fitness Review Week One and The Power Of a Workout (Week 2). This week I wanted to talk about something that I didn’t realize the importance of until now…sleep. When I started this program, Nichole (trainer, owner, wellness extraordinaire) talked about the importance of getting enough sleep for overall health. So many of us (myself included) don’t get enough rest and it really does take a toll on our bodies. My first two weeks on Revolt were great. I had a few hiccups (a coffee, a piece of chocolate here or there) but I didn’t half ass it. This week hasn’t been so easy for me (you may have noticed that I haven’t been around as much). I’ve been feeling really run down and, overall, just kind of a mess.

exhausted-figure

The only thing I can attribute to the way that I’ve been feeling is the lack of sleep I’ve been dealing with. The worst part of it all is that I have no excuses. My daughter’s sleeping habits haven’t changed, our house is quiet and safe at night, and we keep our temperature around 70 (which, they say, is a good sleeping temperature). It’s something internal. I’m thinking that I might try meditation next week before bed to try and get back into focus and find some sort of a normal sleeping pattern (hopefully). I’ve found that when I don’t get enough sleep, it ruins my whole day. Even if I eat well and find time to get in a good workout, that missing element still impacts me. I feel run down, unmotivated, and (in time) unwell.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get anywhere between 7 and 9 hours of restful sleep every night (even though there is no ‘magic’ number). Lack of sleep can lead to a variety of health related issues like an increased body max index, cardiovascular problems, depression, and diabetes. Pretty scary, huh?!

I am making it my mission for the next week to hit the hay at a reasonable hour and, hopefully, get enough of those wonderful zzz’s every night. Care to join me?!

Speaking of join….A new cycle of Revolt starts in early June. If you’ve been thinking about starting up a new fitness program, connect with me on Facebook and I’ll send you an affiliate link to sign up. {SPOILER ALERT} I’m going to be participating in an INCREDIBLE giveaway with some of my new blogger friends from Revolt so be on the lookout for that soon. Trust me, you will NOT want to miss out on this.

Disclaimer: I am participating in the Revolt Now Fitness Program for the next twelve weeks for free in exchange for my weekly review of their program. I am under no obligation to write a positive review and the expressed thoughts are uniquely my own. Please feel free to contact me at ItsAnOrdinaryBlog@gmail.com with any questions. 

Happy Mother’s Day

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Three years ago today was a little difficult for me. My husband and I had been trying, unsuccessfully, for five months to get pregnant again after experiencing a loss in November 2009. I’ll always remember the feeling I had on June 22nd, 2010 when, after several positive pregnancy tests, we found out that we were going to be parents. It was a feeling of pure joy. I felt it again, a little more intensely, on October 4th, 2010 when we found out that the baby growing inside me was a little girl. Both of those moments were trumped with C’s birth in February 2011. I felt  (and still feel every day) so incredibly blessed. Motherhood is my greatest joy, my biggest passion, and my most precious gift.

I was surprised yesterday afternoon with an early Mother’s Day gift. After playing outside for a little while, my husband had me go inside before he and C did. When they walked through the door, flowers in hand, my daughter came up the stairs and said, “Happy Mother’s (Day) Mommy!”.

I’m not big on commercialized holidays but I do think it’s nice to honor the special people in your life on their respective days (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, etc) and hearing my daughter wish me a Happy Mother’s Day (along with a hug and very thoughtful flower presentation) was the best gift I could have gotten. It brought me to tears. Today was wonderful. We slept in (until 9:30!) and then got up and had a nice breakfast together as a family. We ran errands, got the supplies for C’s new big girl room (more on that later), ran some errands, and then enjoyed a nice Lunner (lunch/dinner) at McAlisters. Tonight we’ll watch the season finale of Survivor on CBS before C goes to bed for the night. I literally could not have asked for a better day. Thanks to my husband and my amazing daughter (who can’t read this yet) for making this day such a special one for me. I love you guys to the moon and back.

To all of the wonderful moms out there, including my own mom (hi!): Happy Mother’s Day.

I hope that this day has been a great one for you. 🙂

 

Eggs, Spinach, and Water (Oh, my!): Revolt Now Fitness

42 Hard Boiled Egg Whites  

36 Cups of Spinach 

6 Gallons of Water 

Revolt Now Fitness

So what do sweat, hard boiled eggs, and a kettle-bell have in common? Revolt Now Fitness. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by this new company with an opportunity to become one of their bloggers. Essentially I’ll be participating in the program for two cycles (each uprising is six weeks at a time) in exchange for sharing my experience, what I’ve learned, and my thoughts about the program every week with each of you. I’m excited to share this journey with my readers and to try something that I really believe, maybe for the first time in my adult life, will become a life changing thing for me. That said, I want to talk a little bit today about what I’ve learned this first week and the challenges I’ve faced.

I always assumed that I had a relatively healthy diet. We try to get in our fruits and vegetables, have whole grains more often than their counterparts, and limit the amount of sweets that we eat each week. It wasn’t until I looked at the foods that I’ll be eating for the next twelve weeks that I really got it: A healthy diet isn’t just about fruits and veggies. It isn’t just about limiting processed foods. It’s the whole package that matters. And even though my diet wasn’t horrible before, it definitely wasn’t as good as it’s going to be from here on out. I’ve learned (and will continue to learn) that it isn’t just about having a vegetable with your meal or a piece of fruit as a snack. The way we pair our foods together can actually impact how we feel throughout the day and how the foods impact our body.

That’s not to say that this first week has been easy breezy, because it hasn’t. When you start Revolt, it’s strongly recommended that you begin with a Detox week, just to get your body used to not having so much sugar (which is in a lot of the foods most people eat on a daily basis). It wasn’t the ‘detox’ that bothered me…it was the amount of food and the repetitive nature of it. Six cups of spinach a day, hard boiled egg whites every morning and evening, and small meals every two to three hours. In looking forward to the next five weeks of meals, I’m really excited. Real food! Lava cake for dessert every night next week (and it’s healthy, SCORE!), celery and peanut butter, and meals that I know I’ll enjoy. The hardest thing, for me, in doing this program is saying goodbye to one of my favorite foods: cheese. Which brings me to the next thing I want to talk about.

In order for any sort of program (diet, fitness, or otherwise) to work, you have to have balance. We have a ‘cheat day’ built into the Revolt program which I ended up having to spread out throughout the week (we had a birthday dinner on Tuesday, an event last night, and a movie night tonight). Since I usually track my meals on My Fitness Pal, I know what my calorie deficit is for the week and I’m okay with the balance I have. So many of us found ourselves ‘caving’ at one point or another this week and having a bite of something that we weren’t supposed to have. I learned that it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world and life goes on. Mistakes happen, not every meal is going to be perfect, and the only thing you can do is accept it and move on. Tomorrow is a new day and an opportunity to be better.

The program combines healthy, clean eating, with a mix of workouts throughout the week meant to target the whole body. Nichole (Owner, trainer, goddess extraordinaire) posts daily workouts for us to follow. Three to four days a week we do large cardio circuits. We have an upper body sculpt workout once a week, a lower body workout one day a week. In the past, I’ve done the 30 Day Shred workouts but I actually prefer the Revolt Now Fitness program because I feel a difference in how my body reacts to the workouts. I’m excited to see how this program impacts my overall fitness level and my body over the next couple of months.

Even more so, I’m excited to share it with all of you. Care to join me?! The Revolt website is under construction until May 6th. Until then, you can find out more by visiting their Facebook page. I will post information about how you can join next week (it will include an affiliate link so if you’re going to sign up, I would love for Nichole to know that I sent you) so be on the lookout for that. Until then…

Disclaimer: I am participating in the Revolt Now Fitness Program for the next twelve weeks for free in exchange for my weekly review of their program. I am under no obligation to write a positive review and the expressed thoughts are uniquely my own. Please feel free to contact me at ItsAnOrdinaryBlog@gmail.com with any questions. 

Heartbreak & Hope: Reflecting On The Week in Boston

What an emotional week for us here in America. Boston started it off by honoring the fallen victims from the Newtown tragedy during their annual marathon only to be faced with an act of terrorism that shook the region, and the nation, to the core. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. On Thursday, the bombing suspects were at war with local law enforcement and the FBI. There were bombs, guns, grenades, and the unprecedented lockdown of an entire city. I, like many Americans, were left wondering what’s next? As we reflect on the events that unfolded this week, we can only pray that it won’t happen again. But how do we move forward from here? How do we explain to our children what happened? And why? I’m not sure there are any easy answers…This morning I woke up with two feelings: overwhelming sadness and hope.

I was up almost all night on Thursday reading the live updates online and listening to the police scanner from Boston, trying to make sense of everything that was happening. It just didn’t seem real, like scenes out of a movie. I was heartbroken for the people of Boston, the police officers who were up against something they’ve likely never had to deal with before, and the families who anxiously awaited their return to their normal lives. It’s something that we don’t typically have to deal with here in the United States and, for that reason, I think it’s easy to forget that we’re at war with extremism. I’ve always had this underlying fear that it was only a matter of time before we experienced another attack on American soil and the prospect of something like this happening again is very scary.

I had the news on Friday, trying to follow whatever updates I could while they searched for the 19-year-old who was responsible for much of the chaos throughout the week and I realized that I was subjecting my child to it. How unfair for her. I turned it off and decided to try to focus on the things I can control: my life, my happiness, and what I can give to my family. As I hugged my daughter, tears in my eyes, it hit me. Hope.

Our children will grow up in a world faced with problems that we didn’t have to deal with when we were little. Because of advances in media and technology, they’ll have to see things that we never had to while we were growing up. I have to hold hope that our children will one day work together to put an end to it. To live in a more peaceful world. We had the news on last night, watching the people of Boston cheer for the police, FBI, and military who had worked so hard to keep them safe. That’s the kind of news, more than anything else, that I want to share with my child.

The people in my country give me hope. We may have differences in opinion when it comes to politics, religion, how to raise children, how to define marriage, or any other hot issue but at the end of the day we’re Americans. In times of struggle, need, or despair we band together. At the end of the day, the only thing I see is love. We love our nation and we love each other. It’s amazing and, even though the events of this week have been horrible and dim, it makes the future seem just a little bit brighter. Thank you to all of the men and women who make a commitment to protect and serve their community. You are amazing and you are heroes.

To the people of Boston: Our hearts are with you and you try to move forward from this situation and return to some semblance of normalcy.

Toddlerisms: I Need A Glass Of Wine

What do a tampon, a hot dog, and a glass of wine have in common?!

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The other day, when I was in the bathroom, C picked up a tampon (unused, in the wrapper). Not wanting to make a huge deal out of it, I let her play with it and we moved on…Fast forward a couple of hours:

As I was preparing food in the kitchen, my two year old daughter came up and asked me for a hot dog. She’d just enjoyed a snack an hour before so I told her that she would need to wait until dinner before she could have anything else. Then she told me she needed the hot dog (as if that would make a difference). So I said to her, “Ohhh! You NEED a hot dog?! Well…Mommy needs a glass of wine.” She smiled, repeated what I said, and left the room.

About a minute later she came back, handed me the tampon, and said, “Here you go, Mommy!”

So apparently my child thinks that the times when I need a glass of wine are also the times that I need a tampon.

*SIGH*

Our First Ever “Messy Night”

Messy Night

Our involvement in our local Parents As Teachers program not only introduces us to some incredible ideas for fostering our toddler’s development but it also awards us some opportunities to connect with our local community. Last week we attended an event, sponsored by Parents As Teachers, called, “Messy Night”. We arrived, signed in, and then navigated our way through several stations designed to engage children in fun, creative activities. I was surprised by the turnout of families with young children. It was enjoyable to watch my child lead the way and I learned a few things about her along the way…

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My child loves anything related to music so it was hard to break her away from the interactive activity they had at the event. There were a couple of songs that she’d never heard before and the look on her face as she intently listened to every word was amazing. She loves Play-Doh, painting, and coloring which are all things that I knew before but one new thing was how much she likes to play with shaving cream. It’s definitely an activity I’m going to bring outside over the summer since it’s easy cleanup and a fun way for her to experience a different texture. I learned that she doesn’t care for play mud (made out of soap) and, unless you’re doing music, she prefers to lead the way instead of having structured play.

Toddler Messy Fun

If you have a Parents As Teachers organization in your area, I definitely recommend signing up for it. We requested to be in the program when I was working because I thought it would be nice to have an additional resource to help us figure out some great, creative ways to spend time with C while building on her skills and abilities. Now that I’m not working, we like having that resource to know what areas she’s doing well in and tips for things we can be doing to help her develop new skills.

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Mad About It Mondays: “Oh, Wow. Bad Outfit Choice!”

Mad About It Mondays

I’ve touched on this kind of thing before (if you’re intrested you can find my posts here and here) but somehow hearing rude comments from people in public or in the media never ceases to amaze me (and not in a good way).

It was a beautiful seventy-something degree day on Saturday and so my husband, daughter, and I decided to enjoy some play/workout time outside. I decided to wear my Old Navy compression capris and a t-shirt. Why?! Because when I go to get dressed for a workout I think, “Man, I’ll really look sexy working out in this!!!”. No. It’s because when it comes to doing things that are both fun and good for you, comfort is important and it’s not a beauty contest.

Aftewards we ran into Costo to grab a few things and while we were in line to check out a couple who was coming up behind us very loudly started discussing what they thought was a poor outfit choice. I don’t know if the multiple “Oooh, that was not a good outfit choice. Oh wow! Oh wow!” was about me or not (they weren’t even looking at me) but I don’t care and it doesn’t matter because it was about someone.

So let me just say this and I’ll wrap up my short Mad About It Monday post for the day: If someone’s outfit choice elicits that kind of response from you, the problem isn’t with what they’re wearing. Maybe, just maybe, the problem is with you…

We Went to Paint, Glaze, and Fire! (And I Have Some Exciting News!)

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

I had the opportunity to take C to a local ceramic art studio called Paint, Glaze, & Fire for a fun event hosted by iFamilyKC. I am so excited to announce that I will be blogging for iFamilyKC in addition to my posts here on It’s An Ordinary Blog. You can find my first post, about the event, here. I wanted to talk a little bit more on my blog about our experience at Paint, Glaze, & Fire and share a few extra photos that I snapped while we were there.

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I definitely think places like this are a great way to make creative gifts for special days in your life and I may or may not (I can’t give too much away because my husband reads my blog, hi honey!) be planning a little something for my husband for Father’s Day.

Paint, Glaze, Fire

I think those mugs are a lot better (and more meaningful) than anything you could purchase pre-made.

Paint, Glaze, Fire

Next time we go I’m definitely planning to try one of their Mocha Frappes (they looked really good).

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

If I get a chance to go with my girlfriends for a GNO I have my eye set on one of those owls. Whooo wants one?!

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

This photo doesn’t even do justice to the amount of ceramic pieces they have on hand.

Paint, Glaze, & Fire

Overall Paint, Glaze, & Fire was a great experience for C. I think it’s an activity that’s probably more suitable for older children but I know that C will be thrilled when we get our pieces back next week. It’ll be a fun reminder when she’s older of an event with mommy…and isn’t that really the point anyway?! She was so tired when we were getting ready to leave that she plopped down on one of their chairs and didn’t want to get up:

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Walking The Line: On Parenting

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As my toddler daughter continues to develop, change, and learn about the world I, too, am growing as a parent. One thing I’ve come to realize over the past few months is that being a parent is really a big balancing act and the future of your child is what’s at stake. One of the toughest things about being a mom is finding that perfect balance between letting your child express their creative individuality and ensuring that they learn the proper boundaries which will help them later on in life. How strict is too strict? How lenient is too lenient?

At two years old, C is constantly on the go. She likes to explore, try new things, and test her limits. I try to give her just enough room to be herself but not enough that she might accidentally get hurt or break the rules we have in the house. But it’s hard, parenting. Sometimes I get frustrated and I raise my voice. Sometimes I lose patience and stick my child in time out when I probably should just sit down and talk to her calmly. Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I feel like a complete jackass. Those are the moments when I realize that we need more balance.

As a mom, I need to understand that my daughter is not perfect. I need to recognize that I’m not perfect.

I need to be okay with that.

I have to learn to take the extra time to help my daughter through a rough moment when we’re out in public instead of offering (sometimes) empty threats of timeout at the store (I have actually had to sit her in time out at Target). I have to recognize that just as I’m learning what it means to parent a toddler my child is learning what it means to be a toddler. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be for her (it’s probably a good thing that we don’t remember those years) to have this great big world full of challenges and things to explore and to lack the ability to fully express her wants and needs with the people who are responsible for her safety and well-being.

Finding that balance requires me to take a step back, a deep breath, and to look at situations more objectively. To remind myself that my daughter is young and that the moments of frustration she has are only temporary and that it’s my job to help her through them. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world but it’s definitely one of the most important and it is so, so worth it.