Monday, March 31, 2014

A Princess Adventure!

I sat in the tiny chair at a tiny table.  I held a tiny pink cup and said, "Thank you," to my 2-year-old daughter as she pretended to pour tea into my cup from the pink tea pitcher.  Her purple tiara resting on top of a bundle of blonde curls as she smiled and said, "There you go, mama."  We pretended to drink our tea and she looked up at me with those big blue eyes.  A smile spread across her little face as she nodded and said, "Mmmm."  I, of course, complimented her pretend tea making and serving skills as I sat under my own sparkling tiara.

When I was a little girl I loved fairy tales. I didn't just love the castles, the knights, the tiaras; I also loved the adventure of it all.  My imagination soared as I ran through the trees in my grandparents' yard pretending I was a princess on a mission.  Princesses didn't just sit in the castle and yell, "Eek!" when they saw a bug.  In my mind, princesses could use a sword and stood up for themselves.  They got to have parties (because saying, "They got to have balls," just doesn't seem to flow like it should!) and tea parties, but they also went on many adventures and even managed to save the day.  There is no limit to the imagination.

Enter adulthood and the real world. Parts of our childhood fairy tales do come true, but it is never as we imagined.  The dungeon is now used as a time out spot for that child who misbehaved.  Tea parties have been replaced with juice boxes and quick snacks as we hop in the carriage and run to the village from one appointment to another. Somewhere along the way the pampering part of being a princess got pushed to the side and the adventure took over.

I sit in this tiny chair and watch my little girl happily have a tea party with me. I can't help but embrace the adventure.  Busy schedules, budgets, sick children . . . a mom's life in 2014!  Adventure is what got us to where we are today.  Adventure is what made us the women we are.  Adventure reminds us that while we ARE princesses, there is more to this gig than sitting on the throne!  We have to get our hands dirty, sacrifice pampering to pay for a child's braces, and trade our glass slippers for sneakers that can get us to all of our appointments comfortably!

To all of my mom friends out there, you ARE princesses!  Never forget that! Let's enjoy this adventure!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wear Your Joy!

I had an interesting encounter today--a reminder of how quickly life goes by and how we should stop focusing on all the negative, stop being hateful to each other, and start enjoying every minute we have.

I was on the dairy aisle of the grocery store.  Kaitlyn was wearing her pink sunglasses, blond curls danging over them, and she was happily chatting away.  I was wearing my pink Chuck Taylors and laughing and chatting right along with her.  Suddenly, I heard a soft voice say, "You remind me of my wife."  I turned around and an elderly man was standing near me.  He was holding a shopping basket and had a few items in it. He smiled politely and pointed at Kaitlyn.  "She is beautiful!"  I smiled and said, "Thank you!"  He smiled at Kaitlyn for a second or two and then turned to me.

"I saw you over here with your short haircut and your pink shoes.  You are so happy just to spend time with your daughter--to be alive . . . " He paused for a moment and his eyes filled with tears.  "You remind me of my wife."  He paused again and looked down at the floor. "She liked for her hair to be short.  She said it was more fun and only the bravest of women would cut off their hair!"  He smiled again. "She liked bright colors and fun clothes.  She liked upbeat music.  She was always so happy."  I smiled and said, "Well, she sounds amazing."

"Oh, she was!  She was too good for me, I'll tell you that much. It was impossible to stay unhappy when you were with her."  He paused again and then looked me in the eye.  He lifted his hand and pointed at me. "You remind me of her.  You have that same happy glow about you.  It's very inviting."  I said, "Thank you."  He laughed and said, "You know, sometimes you see these women and they just look angry at the world.  I always stay away from them for fear that they may bite!"  He continued laughing as he watched people walk by us.  "I don't know why people have to be that way.  You only get the one life--might as well make it a good one!"

He said, "Well, I don't want to keep you.  I know you probably have some fun stuff planned with that beautiful little girl of yours.  I'm glad I ran into you today. Don't ever let anyone steal your joy. You wear it well!"  He smiled, waved to Kaitlyn and said, "Bye bye, beautiful girl."  Kaitlyn waved back and said, "Bye bye."  He turned to me again and said, "Thank you for taking the time to stop and talk to an old man!"  I said, "I enjoyed it!"  He smiled and said, "Aw, well, thank you again."

He turned and walked away.  What a nice reminder to find the joy in everything in life--not only to find it, but to wear it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Get Healthy

There was a time when I would eat whatever I wanted.  I'd prepare meals that tasted wonderful, but were full of fat or unhealthy ingredients.  I would eat sugary treats every day, telling myself I earned them.  Looking back now, I can't help but roll my eyes, shake my head and think about how stupid it all was.  I was never really obese, but after my surgery I dropped 20 pounds pretty quickly.  I had to be careful what I ate because part of my small intestine was removed and digestion wasn't as easy as it used to be.  I learned that greasy and fatty foods were really hard on my system and at times, even made me violently ill.  I now know that this was the best thing that could possibly happen to me.  It really opened up my eyes. When my 6 weeks of recovery was over I put on my awesome kickboxing gloves and got back into the groove of things. Cardio kickboxing (which I love), hitting the punching bag, riding the exercise bike and even doing a little weight training.  Jacob and I did a complete overhaul of our fridge and pantry contents.  We still buy some goodies for the kids from time to time, but we no longer eat junk and we eat very few processed foods.  We only eat out on rare occasions and we avoid sweets, except for treating ourselves to York Peppermint Patties (my favorite) on the weekends. I have more energy, I feel much healthier than I did before my surgery, and I don't miss all that unhealthy food, at all. In fact, most of it just tastes gross to me now.

I had an appointment with my doctor on Monday and he said my weight was perfect and I was at a "great healthy weight."  He talked about how even if you're a little overweight it is so unhealthy. He talked about all the risk factors and how you might not feel unhealthy but you are. We talked about how if you eat healthy consistently (Life style changes, NOT dieting) and exercise and get rid of the extra weight (and keep it off), you have more energy, you are more alert, and your body will be healthy and you will live longer and be more active in your old age. He talked about all the hidden risks with eating unhealthy food and how people will be overweight but argue that they're not.

I want to be healthy and now that I've had a taste of it, I like it.  This is our new life.  What's even greater is we're teaching our kids to eat healthy and exercise.  Eating in a restaurant or grabbing fast food is now a big treat for my kids because we no longer do it all the time. We feel younger, we feel healthier, we have more energy, all of those risk factors (diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, liver issues, etc) are no longer a concern because I'm no longer overweight.

It's a great feeling.  I don't miss the junk food and I'm happy with our new lifestyle and I LOVE that I have my doctor's support and encouragement!  Here's to a long, happy and very healthy life!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cherish Time

It's currently snowing outside. A scene that brings joy and excitement around Christmastime, but now, in early March, merely brings sighs and a longing for bright, warm Spring days.  We mumble and groan in disapproval, staring out at the gloomy sky from inside our warm homes.  Thick, white flakes of snow drift quickly to the cold ground, covering everything in a frozen powder. 

We missed church again this morning because the two youngest gremlins are not 100% well quite yet.  Kaitlyn was running fever again yesterday, has a horrible cough, is weezy and congested (hello, nebulizer!) and Logan sounds terrible and still complains of a sore throat.  The mom in me didn't have the heart to drag them out in the freezing cold sleet and snow, spreading their germs in the process. 

So, here we all are, like every other family, trying to make the best of it.  Jacob and I grabbed the New Orleans cook book and found a recipe for Chicken and Red Bean Gumbo that we plan to try for dinner. We have also taken advantage of this situation and spent time together as a family.  We stay so busy with the gremlins' schedules, not to mention our own, that sometimes it's nice to just sit and spend time together. 

It doesn't seem like that long ago Alex was a baby.  He is now 9, Logan is 7 and Kaitlyn is 2.  How did that happen?  How did time slip past us so quickly?  One day I will wake up, walk to the bathroom and see an old woman staring back at me from the mirror.  I hope that when I see her she smiles at me, happy with the life she has led--I hope she leaves a positive mark. As for today, I am thankful for freezing temperatures and icy conditions that keep us all inside, spending time together.  I enjoy listening to my children talk about their interests, their dreams.  Alex's dream of becoming a police officer one day in hopes of helping people.  Logan's dream of becoming a scientist in hopes of doing good and changing the world! Watching Kaitlyn walk around in Princess shoes, wearing a belt as a hat, carrying a little purse and wearing 20 different bracelets. "Look, mama.  Is pretty!"  

It is ALL pretty! Cherish every minute of it.

We are spending a lot of time here today--dining room table and living room.  This mom is loving every minute of it!