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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART THREE}

If you are like most moms, it can be hard to find the time and energy to work out with kids! I put together a three part series on how I stay fit as a mom. You can check out the first two parts here and here.

I’m back here today with a couple more tips that might help you get or stay fit while having kids around!

1. FIND A GYM WITH CHILDCARE

I understand not everyone wants to work out at home. Sometimes it’s refreshing and can be motivating to get out of your home and workout with others around you. I personally love taking classes at a gym! TRX, Zumba, Body Pump, etc are all really fun to do with friends or fellow moms.

If you have it in your budget and live near a good gym that provides it, sign up for a gym that has childcare available for you! You can usually drop your children off for a set amount of time that allows you to get in a class or two, shower in peace, and pick your children up afterwards. It’s easy, relaxing for you, and everyone goes home happy! {unless you have a child that hates childcare in general. Which I have had. Thankfully she’s older now and deals with separation anxiety better than she did her entire first two years.}

2. TRADE OFF

Sometimes when my husband and I both want to participate in a sporting event, we trade off. Either we each play part of the game while the other watches the kids, or he plays in one whole game and I get to play in the next game.

It’s nice to both get a good workout in, and not need to pay a babysitter to watch the kids. Also, our girls absolutely love watching their parents run in races or play in basketball games! They are the best cheerleaders out there!

 

What are your favorite workout classes to do at the gym? Any new ones I should try?  

 

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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART TWO}

Last week, I wrote a post with a few tips that help me stay fit as a mom. You can read more about it here. Today, I’m back with a few more tips that might help you find time to stay fit and get moving, even with small kids in your home!

Just because you have a baby and/or toddler, it doesn’t mean you can’t find time in your day to get a workout in, even if it’s a quick one! Here are three tips that might help you out:

 

1. GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED

I am a huge proponent of an active lifestyle not only for my husband and me, but also for my kids. I want them to see us going out for a run or getting in a good strength workout at home because it teaches them that it’s a part of our every day life. Even if my husband is around to watch the kids, sometimes I’ll take one or two of them with me in the jogging stroller (we have BOB jogging strollers) to get in a tougher run and also for them to be a part of it.

If I am doing a strength workout inside, I try to get them involved. They love doing squats, push-ups, wall sits, and jumping jacks with me. Also, seeing them attempt these moves is one of the cutest things you’ll ever see. If you make it fun for them, they will want to do it!

If you like your own space for working out though, insert my next tip…

 

2. UTILIZE NAP TIMES

My children are still young enough that they all nap. Their naps don’t always overlap with each others’, but I do sometimes like to utilize that time to get in a good, concentrated workout. It’s nice to not have to push pause on a workout DVD or stop mid-squat to run over and help them fill a water cup or the hundred other requests they always have going on.

 

3. WAKE UP EARLY

Before we had children, I used to do this every day before work. I was an assistant manager at a financial institution and usually helped close the branch so my work day didn’t start sometimes until 9-9:30am. This allowed me to wake up early, get a good run in, shower, and get ready for work.

It worked well for me then. And I know plenty of moms who are able to get up before their kids wake up in the morning. If their kids wake up around 7am (I don’t remember what that feels like, but I’m sure it must be glorious) then they set their alarm for 5:30am.

(I will be honest with you. This isn’t the best option for me and my family right now. Some nights I am getting up 6+ times between my three kids and it just isn’t feasible at this point in our lives. In a few years though, I will most likely go back to waking up early to get in a workout before my husband leaves for work and the rest of our day begins.)

 

Do you have any other tips that help you workout with little ones in tow?

 

 

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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART ONE}

 

Staying fit while being a mom can be really difficult. We are in a constant state of exhaustion. It can be hard to find time around our busy schedules to prioritize working out. Some days the only exercise we get is chasing after our toddler all day long as they are constantly getting into things they shouldn’t be!

{cue me running to stop my toddler from permanently ruining our house as she loves to do!}

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Photo source

 

For the next few weeks, I am going to be posting tips on how I make time to work out with little ones under foot. 

Currently, I have a four-year-old, two-almost-three-year-old, and a four-month-old. Yes, I am in a constant state of sleep deprivation. My children have never learned the concept of sleep.

While I could just write off the next 10 years as lost in the exercise department, I’ve learned to embrace this stage of life that I’m at and thrive as best I can.

How do I do that? 

Here are some steps that help me stay active while mothering young children:

 

1. SCHEDULE YOUR WORK OUTS 

I sit down the day before with my calendar and figure out what time I will be able to run or work out the next day. Running is my stress relief and I know if I am able to get a run in, even if it’s a quick 2-miler, I will be a better mom for it.

I will be happier and healthier, which allows me to be a better wife and mama to my family. It’s a win-win for everyone!

 

2. HAVE SUPPORT 

My husband is my number one supporter. Seriously, I couldn’t do it without him behind me 100%!

Before I sign up for a race {currently, I have two half marathons lined up in the next couple months}, I talk it over with him to see if training for a race and running the actual race will be feasible with his work schedule.

If I don’t convince him to run with me, then he watches the kids during the race. I like to choose races that we can all travel to and are family friendly, so the logistics of taking a family of five is something to take into consideration.

 

3. BE FLEXIBLE!

The past week and a half we have been passing around a bad virus between our family members. I have never had to wash so much bedding and clothes as I have in the past week! This means some of my planned work outs have not gone as I wanted.

Having kids has demanded flexibility for this type-A mama. I love having things scheduled out (see bullet point #1), but I also know that it doesn’t always happen as planned. So, I have back-ups to fall on.

If the weather isn’t cooperating with me, I work out inside instead. I have workout DVD’s ready to go!

If I was planning on my husband watching the kids during a long run but his work schedule changes on me (seriously, happens all the time!) I push my long run back a few hours or do a quick run that day and schedule my long run for the next day.

The key is always having something else to fall back on when life changes!

 


 

What do you do if your schedule doesn’t go as planned? 

 

 

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It’s August!

 

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Another page turned in the calendar.

August.

The month I became a mommy for the very first time. I cherish those memories and am holding on to them as hard as I can. But slowly, very slowly, I am noticing that I need to open my tightly clenched fist and open it up to new and exciting things of motherhood. Like potty-training. And learning songs together. Reading books. Memorizing bible verses. Saying something funny, looking at each other, and laughing really hard like we have been best friends all our lives and we get each other. 

I have a birthday party to finish planning. A huge overseas move to figure out how to put all the missing pieces together so the girls and I can go back home next month. A wonderful, awesome friend coming to visit in a few weeks.

So much to look forward to. Thanks, August, for finally arriving. It’s been a long summer so far and I’m glad you are here.

(image: source)

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One Week Down

Phew. I’m not going to lie. The past few days have been pretty exhausting. Not only because my partner- in- helping- with- bedtime is missing, but also because when he leaves I cram as much as I possibly can into each day and hope that it makes the time go by much quicker. This has proven true and the time – thankfully – has been moving by pretty quickly. Adam has now been gone one week and I am thankful we are one week down into the count down of quite a few more.

A few ways we have been spending our days lately:

Coffee Dates: I host a weekly coffee date at my place and really enjoy the adult conversation. It is definitely something I look forward to each and every week.

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Fun at the local Mall: A local mall of ours has an arcade area that we frequent. The main reason is for Brooklyn to ride the Thomas the Train ride, but she has recently expanded to the carousel as well as the ball pit (when mommy lets her – pit of germs, anyone?). It’s a lot of fun and the mall is pretty close by, so we like to hit it up when the weather isn’t so nice out or we just need to get out of the house.

Bible Study//Fellowship with friends: Our current study is coming to a close which makes me sad but also so very thankful for our wonderful bible study and all the many blessings these ladies have been to me. I hope we continue to meet, even if it’s just to hang out because I truly love getting to see these ladies on a weekly basis.

Outdoor playing: this never gets old. Thankfully, my girls absolutely love getting to play outside and I do as well, so we are spending as much time as we can outdoors when the weather permits. One thing our base has are plenty of different parks so we usually test them all out throughout the week. Scarlett is slowly becoming such a wandering and running toddler and it’s so much fun to see. I sent Adam a video of her playing outdoors the other day and he can tell she has grown up in just this past week alone.  

Preparing for our up-coming move: I’ve been sorting through and organizing our things slowly but surely in preparation for our move in September/October. In thinking about it as a big picture, it stresses me out with all the work that needs to get done. I’m trying to do bit by bit each week in hopes of it not being as much of a big project in the end. I can always hope, right?

Kid-swaps: my friend, who lives just two floors above us, suggested swapping kids once a week so we can get in a workout with out needing to take them along. Such a great idea! It’s free, the kiddos can play together, and it gives us each a little peace and quiet. I’m all for it and loving it.

Planning for a wonderful visitor: my best friend from childhood is coming in a week and I could not be more excited! I’m starting to plan some fun things we can do together and just really looking forward to having someone here to spend time with and get to hang out with again. It’s been two years since I’ve last seen her and that is two years too long, if you ask me!

Skype dates: keeping up with family and friends as much as we can!

So, while we miss Adam so much it hurts sometimes, we are trying to pass this separation with as many things as we can do. If you’re someone whose spouse leaves for a while at a time, what do you do to pass the time?

 

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The Picture of Deployment

I’m standing at the curb, holding a squirming one-year-old with one arm while trying to push the uncooperative stroller seating my two-year-old up onto the sidewalk with the other. I’m sweating profusely and silently cursing the stroller, hot sun beating down on me, and my daughter’s decision that she didn’t want to walk anymore and now needed to ride in the stroller which meant carrying my youngest daughter. {Even though she was the one who, while walking out of our apartment, informed me that she wanted to walk to the store and persuaded me to take the single stroller for only Scarlett to ride in.}

My friend happened to come upon me after multiple attempts to coax the stroller up onto the sidewalk and said in one simple declaration: “That is the picture of deployment right there.”

I couldn’t agree more. A frustrated and tired mom, having carried her child for over a half mile {unnecessarily, mind you}, who just wants to make it back home to make dinner for the girls, give them baths, put them down for bed, and have a couple hours to herself before getting broken sleep and starting it all over again tomorrow. Only to be repeated for months.

Being a “single” mom and a military spouse is not glamorous. It’s hard work. Day in and day out. Oh, how thankful I am that this is our last deployment this sea tour before we move back to the States and get a much needed break. I’m counting down the days.

There was a glimpse today of peace and quiet, one tiny redeeming part of my day. I went to the salon to get my hair cut and colored. It was a glorious two hours all to myself. I kind of felt bad that I wasn’t my chatty self with the stylist but I was basking in the fact that I didn’t need to reply yes, honey or stop doing that a thousand times. It was wonderful.

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Some days, we look for any little break we can get. Hopefully this deployment will go quickly.

 

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Soaking It All In

The dread of another deployment is looming.

The bags are starting to be packed. Wills and powers of attorney renewed. His favorite foods are  slowly disappearing from our pantry shelves. The simple things of everyday life are gradually changing.

I’m not a newbie when it comes to deployment. I’ve put in my time from being away from my husband. Deployments will never get easier as each one comes up, but my ability to handle and process it – the emotional and mental toll – just might be getting a little better each time.

I notice my bedtime shifts back later and later in the closing weeks before they leave, trying to hold on to and enjoy these last snippets of time together before he’s gone again. I’ve started to plan things, especially those first few weeks after his departure, to keep busy. I find busy-ness is the key to a successful shift of Daddy home then Daddy gone.

I’ve begun talking with our two-year-old, trying to prep her for the separation from the most important man in her life – her Daddy, buddy, and best friend. We’ve been watching Talk, Listen, Connect more recently. She’s a strong little girl and I know this time away from Daddy will only strengthen my relationship with her. Thankfully, her sister Scarlett is only a year old and will most likely not be affected in the same way, as she can’t really understand time and the concept of separation just yet.

While this deployment will be similar in that Adam is gone from us, it also brings a bit of excitement for us seeing as it’s our last one before we move onto our shore tour. We simply cannot wait to move from Japan to the land we know as home, where Adam will be around much more and get to experience the true every day life for a few years.

So, if I’m not around as much over the next little while, you understand why. We’re soaking up and enjoying as much time as we can with my husband, our little girls’ Daddy, before that good-bye comes again much too soon.

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Our homecoming last November. We are already counting down the days to this years’ homecoming!

 

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On This Day for Mothers

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a mom.

I had all my baby dolls named. I would dress them up, care for them, push them around in strollers, play school with them – basically everything I thought being a mom entailed. Now that I have two girls of my own, I see that while my childhood view of a mom was a little off, at a young age I had the basics down already: loving and caring for a little human being that is so completely dependent on you for everything.

I attribute my mothering skills to my mom. Looking back on my life, I have such a great appreciation for her patience and love for me and my siblings. I don’t know how she and my dad did it – raising five children with the oldest three all within three years. I’m sure she had a lot of days where she couldn’t wait for nap time or my dad to come home so she could get a break from the chaos.

But I never saw those tough moments she may have had. What I remember were the times she would sit on the floor and play my favorite game with me. I remember baking and cooking with her. Helping outside on the yard work or her teaching me how to ride a bike. She was a stay-at-home mom during my childhood and I honestly thank her and my dad for making that decision. I use all those positive memories and try to reiterate them with my girls.

I want to be the mom that I had. I want my girls to remember me with love, happiness, and great memories. I want them to know that no matter what, I will always be there for them through the great moments but also the disappointments and struggles too. I want to sacrifice the way my mom (and dad) did for me.

And ultimately, I want to raise God-fearing, Christian girls because I believe that is the greatest blessing and gift that we can get from having children – glorifying God through them.

So thank you, Mom, for being someone that I so greatly look up to. You have been there for me from day one and with your help, I want to be the wonderful mom that you were to my girls.

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I Am Mom

Sometimes being a mom is the most challenging thing for me. I feel stretched too thin, unappreciated, exhausted, a failure, and constantly that I am unfit to raise the girls how I had dreamed years ago. But when they come to snuggle with me – looking at me with adorning eyes like I’m the only person in their world – it puts all things into perspective.

I am their mom. I have been given the most awesome opportunity to teach them, be their best friend, show them what life is. It’s a pretty high calling and I thank God each day for allowing me this “job.”

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What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

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The Positives to Bringing Up Children

Lately, I’ve seen a few articles circulating about parenting and the difficulties that come from rearing children. They all had me nodding along with laughter because, like any normal parent, we all commiserate with and understand what these fellow caregivers are going through. (You can find a couple of the links here and here, if interested.)

It’s no secret that children are difficult at times. We are dealing with this right now in our household. Our two-year-old is very willful, knowing exactly what she wants and at times has a hard time telling us with her words. She then uses emotional outbursts to get her point across. In my mind, this is not an acceptable behavior anymore. Brooklyn has always been good with words, talking (a lot) at a very young age so I know she is capable of communicating besides her favorite non-verbal way of thrashing around on the floor in a temper-tantrum. We are slowly making headway on getting her to talk through her issues and overall, we are happy with her progress.

Scarlett is currently ten months old and in the midst of teething. She has only sprouted two little daggers teeth thus far, and a few more are trying to make their appearance. As with all children, teething means runny noses, lack of sleep (for both child and mother), and unusual crankiness. These past few days I have learned to function on very little sleep. Coffee is now my best friend (besides my husband – he’s been awesome.)

So, where am I going with this post besides turning you childless readers even further away from desiring to produce offspring? While there are so many “hardships” we go through to bring these children up, I want to shed light on the positives that come from these little mini-me’s also.

Below is a list of only a few wonderful things that my children have brought to my life:

1. Flowers galore. Brooklyn absolutely loves picking flowers for me. Be it a dandelion, cherry blossom that fell to the ground, tree branch, or straight-up weed, she loves picking them up and running them over to me. The look for my approval in her choice of gift is so sweet. I will never be in need of flowers again.

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2.  Learning to be selfless. When I got married, it took work to go from an independent individual to sharing my free time and space. (I’m not going to lie – there is one thing that I don’t part with freely: my food. Specifically, my desserts.) But, after giving birth to my daughters, I felt a shift. I no longer looked at life as to what I could expect in return. Middle of the night feedings? Okay. Definitely not getting that sleep back. Toddler wants a bite of mommy’s special dessert? I suppose so. Since you asked so nicely. I give and give some more, as do all parents, and I never once have thought, what are they going to give me in return? It’s called parenthood.

3. New vacation spots. I used to view vacations as a place where I could get the most relaxation, beach time, and sun. Basically, what everything our honeymoon destination was (Jamaica). Now, we search for kid-friendly vacation spots. Will there be an aquarium there? Great, put it at the top of our list! A kiddy pool? Awesome! Pack the swimmy diapers! A zoo? Our girls would love it! We’ll go there next. Case in point: our next mini-vacation. We have now gone to places I would never have thought of before having kids. It’s opened our world up and it’s been fun!

4. A new kind of love. I had always heard that having your own child would be a different kind of love than I ever experienced. And it is true. That first moment I laid my eyes on our daughters, my heart grew exponetially. Never before had I looked into the face of a person I helped make. It is an indescribable feeling and only something you will experience once you become a parent. Truly, it’s a miracle.

5. Help with workouts. More times than not, if I want to go out for a run, I need to take my girls with me. At first, pushing a double stroller seemed like a huge drag. It’s a lot heavier, slowed my pace down, and I needed to stop a lot more to open a snack or place the ear protection on the girls’ heads as a jet flew overhead. But, I have learned to love having them along with me. I have two little kiddos to talk with throughout my runs. I run a special route just for them to see a goat right outside the base gate, or head towards the area where Brooklyn’s favorite helicopter/airplanes are. And, another bonus: I’m now faster than I was pre-kids! I recently ran my fastest half marathon and I am convinced I’m stronger from pushing the double jogger.

6. Living like a kid again. I have a whole new appreciation for the little things. When we go for a walk outdoors, I get to view everything through the eyes of a toddler. Life is simpler, bigger, and much more fun. Never do I take the time to stop and look at a tree root or play with the dirt when I’m out by myself (what adult does?) but when I’m with my girls, life slows down and we get to experience these things together again.

7. Learn a new language. Actually two: baby talk and toddler speak. You will become fluent in these languages. What’s fun is only you and your young kids will know this particular language. And most days, when your husband is deployed, this is all you will use.

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8. Social functions have grown exponentially. We have never been invited to as many birthday parties as we have since having kids. I might have never even met some of my current friends if it weren’t for a child’s birthday party that we happened to be at together. Playdates also have come in handy to get out of the house and become social. Yes, we may only talk about kid-related things such as runny noses, eating habits, or who is lacking the most sleep, but at least we are getting out, being social, and making friends. My fellow-mommy friends are some of my best friends now!

So there you have it. A small list of positives that can come from having children. I’m not in any way telling you to go ahead and have a child if you’re not ready. You definitely need to be prepared because they will change your life. But, your life will be for the better. The joys of having kids will outweigh the hardships. Many times over.