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motivation and drive to work out, be healthier and have fun

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August 2013

kiddies & doggies

Although this doesn’t relate to health or fitness, it relates to being a mommy to children and canine alike.  

A few weeks ago, I witnessed our chickens being attacked by a fox.  To make the story short: the girls were making a really loud fuss, I looked outside, saw a fox running after my chickens, which prompted me to go running outside screaming “NO!” and chase after the fox.  I was happy that he was unsuccessful in his chicken theft, but he really wounded one of our Rhode Island Reds.  What’s more sad then a limping and bleeding chicken who hides in the wood pile?  

I knew fox were a real problem in our area, but after uneventful weeks of free ranging our hens, I clearly had became too lax.  

Once everyone was safe in the coop that night, my husband did a count of the girls only to learn that we were down two – two of my beloved Buff Orpington’s.  And I have to admit I cried.  I felt like I had let my flock down and I was determined to find a way to keep them safe.  

A dog?!  

My husband was adamant against getting a dog until I found a specific livestock guardian breed, the Anatolian Shepherd.  It’s a very large breed, great with kids, sturdy enough to live in cold climates and gorgeous.  SOLD!

Now I am happy to say after driving over fours hours one way, we are now owners (well parents) to our new baby boy, Magnus.  He’s only ten weeks old and a monster already.  The next year will be about training him to behave properly (as all good parents should do) and set him up to watch our chicken flock.  But the past few days has taught me something else, that having a puppy is very similar to having a baby.  

So here are my reasons why you should wait to get a puppy after you’ve had a kid or two.

  1. Poop clean up – who needs gloves anymore?  Well, maybe not really but after dirty diapers for over two years per child, you’re an old hat at poop duty.
  2. Whining.  I’ve honed the skill of toning out whining children for the past three years, so what’s a puppy?
  3. You already refer to yourself as “mommy.”  And since your children are likely to always be around, you won’t sound too crazy in public when you’re talking to your dog, “come to mommy!”
  4. After potty training one child, you can appreciate the excitement of pooping and peeing where you are supposed to, i.e. the  yard for puppy or toilet for child.  Who thought bodily functions were so thrilling?  
  5. If your child wakes up at a reasonable hour, like after 6:00 am, I would highly reconsider a puppy.  Breakfast before 5 in the morning is not as awesome as it sounds.  Wait, that doesn’t sound awesome?!
  6. It is likely that you’ve also mastered the skill of identifying real crying (something’s wrong) from fake crying (attention please!) with your kids.  And puppy’s seem to be the same.  “Whimper whimper.  I don’t like my crate” versus “Pee!  It’s coming! Get me out of here!”  
  7. Time to rest.  Both tired kids and puppies get cranky and are super fussy and you guessed it, whine.  Knowing when it’s time for a nap is key and keeps everybody happy, and most importantly, mommy sane.  
  8. You understand the value of praise.  If you want your puppy to grasp a new skill, giving them high praise enforces their desire to want to do it again and see you happy.  Toddlers are the same way, “Mommy, look! I put my shoes on by myself!”  Which of course is a great accomplishment that your enthusiastic response will encourage independent shoe putting on all the time.  
  9. Dirty laundry accumulates very fast with kids.  Between jammies, multiples outfits each day, towels and bedding, you are likely to be doing two loads a day.  What’s a couple extra doggie towels?  
  10. Like a teething and exploring baby, doggie’s also bite and mouth to learn about their new world.  You probably remember how your infant put everything into his or her mouth right?  Well, puppies also love to chew, nip and put anything that will fit into their mouths.

And it goes without saying, you will love your new family member and want squeeze them ‘til they pop or eat their faces just like your own children (if you’ve seen my son’s cheeks, you’d want to eat them too!).  

There you have it – why I think having a puppy after a baby is likely to help you cope with the many adventures of parenthood.

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working out with BOOKS

According to Francis Bacon, knowledge is power.  But I have to be honest, right now knowledge is kinda scaring me, just a little bit.  

A while back I was searching through my local library’s online data base for a women’s health book to read.  I’ve always enjoyed reading so I thought since I enjoy working out so much, I would LOVE to read about being healthy.  I was right, I have been enjoying reading all my books but I’m not necessarily enjoying all that I am reading.  Make sense?  

The first book ready for pick up was “Chill Out & Get Healthy.”  From the cover, it’s contents were unexpected.  The author is trained in Chinese Medicine and she bases her book around the concepts such as your essence and Qi as well as how stress and a poor diet is are aging us too quickly.  Have you heard of prenatal essence?  Me either.    

I really appreciated what this book had to offer as it really honed in on how we should be more aware of our insides and listen to our body more.  Most of what the author talked about sounded like common sense but it never clicked for me until I started this book.  For example, if you’re bloated and gassy (admit it, it’s fine) it’s typically because you ate something that your body has a very hard time digesting.  Therefore, don’t eat it because it’s not necessarily good for you, sans the typical gas making veggies of course!

And this was also the first time I read about eating organic, an idea I’m starting to warm up to.  I always had reservations about it…too expensive, sounds a little too extreme for me and quiet honestly, who had time to seek out organic products.  But the obvious fact that organic produce is not grown with chemicals means you won’t be ingesting chemicals.  Peanut butter with apple coated chemical skin doesn’t sound so appetizing anymore.   

If you’re looking for a fun, easy and to the point book about being healthy, I highly recommend “Chill Out and Get Healthy.” I plan on purchasing a copy for my book shelf.     

Next. 

Did you know that Jessica Alba has her own plant based, no toxic, not tested on animals product line for baby and family?  Either did I until I read her book “The Honest Life.”  This was a wonderful read.  She covers all areas of family life and explains the many ways you can rid your home of all the gross things we seem to be washing our bodies with.  

One fact that has really stuck with me is that baby soaps have a numbing ingredient so our little people don’t feel the soap stinging their eyes.  Not only am I appalled, but I feel terrible that I’ve been washing my kids with such harsh and unsafe cleaners.  Now, I’ve decided not to go off the walls throwing everything out, but rather I will replace products as we finish them.  This gives me the opportunity to continue educating myself as well as not wasting money already spent.

I think this is a great book for all moms.  So if you are a mom, find it and read it!

Next.   

Last night I finished “Suicide by Sugar,” which I was excited to read because the author states she’ll tell you how to eliminate sugar from your diet.  Well, when it got to that chapter, or section rather, I was pretty disappointed.  She simply advises to start cutting back and then stop all together after a certain amount of time.  Why hadn’t I thought of that?!  The bulk of the book repeats how sugar is destroying our immune system, throwing our body’s homeostasis out of whack, disturbing the mineral balance within our bodies as well as the very obvious making us overweight.  

There was one section I did enjoy reading.  It was about how children are also being affected in all aspects of their lives by sugar – hyperactivity, overweight, poor behavior, inability to focus or pay attention in school as well as these little bodies have sugar dependencies.  And as a mother, I was really upset that I’m aiding in this unfortunate pathway for my own kids. 

On most days my daughter wakes up and asks for a treat and likes to finish her day off with some ice cream.  Of course I don’t give her a treat in the morning, even though I’m pretty sure her cereal could be considered one, and we are able to limit how much ice cream we give her, but sugar is obviously running their her body making her crave it even more.  

And despite my good efforts to buy unsweetened applesauce and bake goodies using honey and peanut butter instead of white sugar and butter, we still seem to consume too much sugar.  

Eliminating sugar from our diets is something I strive to work on but it’s difficult when you actually suffer from sugar withdrawal pains like any other addiction (that’s right you can have a  sugar addiction!).  Headaches, crankiness and of course, the unnatural urge to all sweets in sight.  Whoever said the wise adage “you want what you can’t have”? was right because every time I swear of sweets, I typically end up eating more than I usually do on a normal day.  

So what’s the answer?  

Right now I intend to keep reading as much as possible to gather information to make those important decisions in mine and my families lives.  Being healthy isn’t always about exercising those muscles (a key part not to forget though), but also making sure we treat our outsides and insides safely and smartly.  Go to the book store or better yet, the library and bring home a bunch of books.  Read during nap time or before bed because knowledge really is power.

go mow the lawn

While mowing our yard yesterday, I had a thought: I think a lot when I’m mowing.  I’m not naturally a contemplative person and don’t typically think about things once they have occurred or the moment has passed.  But while I’m pushing our little mower around, I find myself thinking about a past conversation or what plans I have coming up or even what I should write on here.  Kinda strange for me.

And I also realized the benefits of mowing the lawn so I decided to compile the ones I could think of.  Yes.  While mowing.

  1. The obvious – the grass gets cut.  As a home owner, a freshly cut lawn makes me happy.  The fallen leaves get mulched up to help fertilize the grass and a smooth looking yard is simply beautiful.
  2. You get a work out.  Even though you’re “only” walking, you are pushing that mower up those inclines, around that tree, moving lawn chairs out of the way and if you’re yard is like mine, picking up endless amounts of sticks.  It IS a work out.  You can take this one step further, put on your heart rate monitor and try to keep your HR up.  I did this once, trying to maintain a 140 HR and burned over 400 calories in an hour.  Score.
  3. Alone time.  Despite the fact that cutting the grass is manual labor, you are also by yourself.  And as a mom, it’s nice to have that time free of screaming, whining, complaining children.  Or are mine the only ones like that?  And trust me, you can’t hear much over the sound of the machine.
  4. One chore done.  If your husband is like mine, he’ll be relieved that someone else took care of the job.  It’s a tasking one that he might be very willing to hand over to you and probably won’t complain about having to be on kid duty instead.  Just don’t tell him how much you enjoy this alone time.
  5. Thorough exam of the property.  We bought our house about eight months ago and boy was it a mess and the yard still is.  It seems like garbage, especially glass, was just thrown all over.  I take this time walking every inch of the yard as an opportunity to spot the dangers.  I am a mom on a mission to make our yard as bare feet friendly as possible.
  6. Fresh air.  Simple enough.  You’re not likely to go mow in the rain, so chances are it’ll be sunny, which also means getting your recommended Vitamin D intake.  Sunglasses could be helpful with all the sunny rays as well as fashionable protective eye wear.
  7. Look what mom can do!  I think there’s something to say about a woman taking on what is considered a traditionally daddy job.  Even though I probably won’t always be the one mowing the lawn, my children will see that men and woman can share in the same things. Nothing has to be gender specific.
  8. Children entertain themselves.  Several times I’ve mowed the lawn while my two kids are wandering around outside.  Of course I’m ever mindful of where they are in relation to the lawn mower, but they do a wonderful job of finding ways to entertain themselves while I’m busy.  For example, yesterday my daughter was digging up seashells that were stuck in the dirt (remember I said the yard was a mess!) and collecting them in a bucket.  Since I am busy working, they are forced to fend for themselves if you will, a great way to encourage independence.

These are only a few of the many reasons why you should immediately head out to cut that grass!  Don’t forget to drink plenty of water afterwards, you’re working out remember, and enjoy a snack with the kiddies for a job well done picnic style on your freshly mowed lawn.

Go bust out that machine now!

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