Category Archives: Positive Vibes

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.  An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  Winston Churchill

We all WANT to be a healthier version of ourselves, but it just seems that for many of us, life sometimes gets in the way. Our kids get sick, or we get caught working late and miss that evening class at the gym.  So how do we overcome life’s little obstacles so that we can be more committed to a workout routine? With the right “no excuses” mindset, below are 5 ways to help you incorporate fitness habits into your everyday life.

And Optimism is the Wednesday Word over at Deb Runs today, so feel free to head on over to link up and see what the hype is all about!

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1. Make It Fun

No one wants to do something we dislike. It’s no fun to exercise if you hate it. And you won’t keep up a fitness habit that you dread for very long. Pick something that’s fun — running, swimming, biking, hiking, karate, rowing, etc. After the initial phase of  getting acclimated to exercise, you’ll start to really enjoy it and actually look forward to it.  Think of it as your stress release and stress outlet! 

2.  Mix it up

Don’t stick to the same workout routine for too long, or your body will adjust to the stress level and you won’t be getting an effective workout. Plus you get bored of the same types of movements after doing them day in and day out.  For strength training, change up your routine every few weeks, mixing up the repetitions and the weight load. For cardio, try to incorporate many different types of exercises rather than doing the same cardio every day. Even as a running coach, I mix up my runs and opt for different cardio a few times per week.  Some of my fav cardio moves are burpees, mountain climbers, and kickboxing routines!

3.  Try Circuit Training

I see many people at the gym doing multiple sets of the same exercise without rest between the sets.  Doing the same strength training exercise repetitively does not allow your muscles to rest and recover. But instead of doing a set, resting, and then doing your second set, it’s more effective to go through multiple exercises in a circuit, so that you don’t rest between exercises but do rest each muscle group. Plus, you get your cardio and your strength training done in less time….bonus!  Below is one of my favorite HIT workouts.  HIIT workouts are one of my favorite fitness habits when crunched for time!

 

4.  Understand how habits work

Fitness habits sometime trump inspiration.  In order to be successful at fitness routines, work on building it into the same category of the brain as sleeping and eating.  Whether it is getting up early in the morning, utilizing lunch breaks at work, or taking advantage of quiet time in the evenings after your kids go to bed, the key is to find a routine that works for you.  A weekly workout routine that results in increased energy for YOU turns into daily, weekly, and yearly habits.  The key is to have realistic, yet optimistic expectations and find a fitness routine that fits into your busy lifestyle.

5.  You’re not lazy!!

One discouraging (and rather pessimistic) thought you may have had before is that you’re just lazy.  It’s not cool for someone in-shape to criticize someone who is having a tough time and call them lazy.  This is the exact reason gyms like Planet Fitness have adopted the “no judgement zone.” In reality, running a mile for someone with a rather sedentary lifestyle is far more difficult and requires more physical and mental will than it does for someone who runs five miles a day. Recognize that, especially when you start down the slippery slope of comparing yourself—and your fitness habits—to others.

So whether it’s smarting small or large with exercise, being honest with your current situation will keep you from being too ambitious and setting yourself up for failure, or from giving up entirely.  “You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.”  Bikram Choudhury

For other Time Management Tips, check out my newest EBook, Time Management Tips for Runners


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Happy Friday!  Are you finding yourself getting caught up in all the hype over “Black Friday” today? Today is also the day after Thanksgiving. Which should be a great reason to celebrate.  This is a great time of year to celebrate the people we are grateful for. We encourage our little ones to shift their focus away all the stuff and instead notice, and then be grateful, that they have a full table, and are surrounded by loved ones. Maybe you take turns going around the table counting your blessings or recall cherished memories from past years.

But soon it is over and… Bam! It’s Friday and families rush out the door at 5 a.m. (or even the night before) to buy buy buy! Stuff! More stuff. The memories of Thursday forgotten until next year. Because right now, OMG! Did you hear that Target-Best Buy-WalMart are offering flatscreen TVs for $200?! Go, quick, go now, go go go!!

Sadly, these “things” do not matter. Not at all.  Do you remember what we said yesterday? What matters is US. You, me, our sweet babies, our extended family, our co-workers, and our neighbors. That we are together, that we have enough and that we can wrap each other up in love and comfort. Remember, love and comfort? The fun stories? How quick we forget.

This year, I propose we all do something else. I’m not the only one proposing something else. There is a national movement. It’s called National Buy Nothing Day. Do it. Buy nothing. Exercise your best brand of family togetherness. Yes, one more day of this grateful togetherness. You can do it! Maybe it’s not whole family togetherness, because really, another day of obnoxious Uncle Hank or, that one relative who you really can NOT stand to be in the same room with may be intolerable!  But, I encourage you to adapt some version for you and your family, and buy nothing. Just be together. I think it’s okay to admit that maybe we just can’t stomach whole family togetherness. But choose those ones who are fun to be around and do something with them. Include your children.

For my family, it will be outside. It’s going up to a record 68 degrees in November here on the East Coast, so I am hoping to get my run in early and then see what the day holds.  We may even venture into the City of Brotherly Love later on (pending the nap schedule) to check out some of the Christmas lights.  But there will be no mall shopping on the agenda. We don’t go crazy with Christmas gifts, and that seems to work well for our family.  

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I’m not saying don’t buy anything ever. I’m not suggesting that you opt out of holiday giving or even holiday buying. I am suggesting, though, that you stop and think about it. Think about your kids and what message you want to portray to them. Think about your family values. The values of your tribe. Do not hide behind the “I just can’t get my mother to stop buying so much stuff,” or “We just have such a big family and once they’ve all given something, there is a huge pile of gifts.”  A huge pile of gifts does not mean that you can’t teach your children that your family time is more important than the stuff. You can. By your own actions, by what you choose to emphasize. By what you choose to give and by the way you choose to shop and by the way you choose to receive. Show them. You are their moral compass. You. They’re watching. All. The. Time.

Buy slowly and buy locally and then spend all day opening. Or two days if your mountain is that large. Around our Christmas tree, when one of our girls opens a present, we usually open it and play with it. We talk about the books that are unwrapped. Sometimes we take the time to snuggle up on the couch and read together. We open the puzzle box and put it together, trying not to lose one of those painfully tiny pieces in the mountains of paper and ribbons. 

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You can also donate gifts or volunteer at a soup kitchen, or pick up a new toy for a local boy or girl who truly needs it.  But I encourage you to play close attention to what happens around your table and in your own living room. Show your family what matters to you by your actions. That moral compass, remember? They’re watching you. 

I’d love to hear your family traditions around gratefulness and appreciation. How do you show your littles that they, and the rest of your family are more important to you than the stuff?


HAVE YOU EVER CAUGHT YOURSELF in the middle of an amazing moment thinking about your to-do list or what you need to do next? I am definitely guilty of it and it’s something that most of us need to make a conscious effort to correct. So what’s the harm in letting your mind wander off to the next big thing…you might ask? You miss out on all of the great things happening around you…right NOW. The next thing you know, you’re re-living that moment you were thinking about yesterday, or are rehearsing that big proposal two weeks from now.  So, if you are reading this, I challenge you today to start living in the present, to cherish those precious moments happening right this very minute. 

And cherish is the Wednesday Word today over at Deb Runs and I am thrilled to be linking back up with such fantastic bloggers for a fun topic!  I always thoroughly enjoy reading through all the fun and interesting Wednesday Word link-ups…it truly boosts the morale for my week!  If you have a blog, or are looking to get started with blogging, Debbie has such a cool link up each Wednesday, so head on over to her website each Wednesday to see the word we will be talking about!  I love hearing Wednesday Word perspectives from such a broad array of bloggers, from runners to non-runners, alike! 

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So, without further a due, here are my six tips on how to focus on the present moment and the task on hand:

  1. STOP LIVING IN THE FUTURE
    During our school-aged years, we tend to spend a lot of time wishing for the future. We see all of the privileges that come with growing up and we wish our time away. We wish for the day we get our driver’s license, we can’t wait to move away to college, and then finally, to graduate into the “real world.” And then, all of a sudden, our college days are over and we wish we could go back to those days. The wisdom to appreciate these years is not commonly found in teenagers and young adults, but it’s important to slow down and cherish these moments now before they are gone.                                                                   
  2. STOP LIVING IN THE PAST
    After loss or failure, it’s common to find yourself living in the past. You think about how great your life was when the person/career you lost was still a part of it. There’s a difference between keeping the memories of your past alive and missing out on your life now because you’re stuck in the past. Even though pain, grief, and/or suffering, there are people in your life now who care about you very much and who want to see you happy. Don’t miss out on that love and happiness that is all around you now because you can’t stop thinking about the way your life used to be.  We all have one life to live. Live your life in the present and try to cherish each moment as it happens. We’re only human, so you’re bound to find yourself longing for a different time every now and then. It’s okay to hold onto your memories and to get excited about the future, but don’t let those past and future moments keep you from cherishing the moment that is happening right in front of you.
  3. HAVE THE COURAGE TO LIVE A LIFE TRUE TO YOURSELF, NOT THE LIFE OTHERS EXPECT
    People say it all the time: “You only live once.” Yet, it’s still so easy to forget that on a daily basis. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we forget to make each day count. Time goes by so quickly that we seldom stop to really think about life and whether we’re living it in a way that will allow us to look back on it with no regrets when all is said and done.                                                                                                     IMG_0125[1]
  4. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
    Take some time to think about your past. Without being too critical, can you say that you have lived your life in a way that is true to yourself? On a side note, there’s a difference between living selfishly, and living your own life. I’m not saying you should just stop caring about those around you, but rather live in a way that makes you happy. Reach for your goals, not the goals of someone else. Although you can’t take back or change the way you’ve lived your life thus far, you can use your past to motivate you to change.
  5. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
    Maybe you’ve already realized the importance of living life for yourself, and you’re putting that principle to work. That’s wonderful! If you’re not living a life true to yourself, most likely you already know this. You know because it weighs on you. You feel the conflict between whatever or whoever is holding you back, and the life you know you’re meant to live. Maybe not every day, but the thought creeps up on you and it’s painful to think about. That’s how you know you’re not living life true to yourself. So…
  6. WHAT WILL YOU DO?
    Living a life true to yourself is going to look different for everyone. For some, it could be something drastic, like a career or relationship change, or a relocation. For others, it might be simply making small changes to your daily living, like learning to tell people “no” when you are maxed out to your limit. Find out what it is you have to do in order to start living true to yourself and work towards putting that into action. It’s not going to be easy and like any change, it will take time. Be diligent about chipping away at the change, and patient in reaching your goal.      IMG_9672

No matter where you are in life, it’s never too late to start living a life that is true to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 30, or 88 (I just picked a random age). Start being true to yourself now and cherishing those precious moments now to live a life without regret later.  Do you find yourself struggling with focusing on the present moment? Comment below with your “present moment” reminders!


This past Friday morning started out just like any other typical weekday morning.  I woke up early before the kiddies, answered some emails, and wrote down some future blogging content ideas.  I also did my daily gratitude journaling by identifying 3-5 people or moments in my current life that are special to me.  On this particular Friday, I took time to thank my guardian angels for my healthy little family.  If you have followed me on Facebook and Instagram, you know that my family has been dealt some unlucky cards in the past few years, but we have always managed to unite as a family through the tough times (though sickness, tough pregnancies, kids’ surgeries, etc), and it truly is what makes us so grateful to have each other to celebrate life’s happy moments.  

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After starting my day on a positive note, I was showered, dressed and at the office by 7 AM.  I had a fairly productive start to the day and had hammered through the planning stages of some major projects.  I grabbed a mid-morning cup of coffee to stretch my legs.  I daydreamed a bit of getting to chill with my girls and my hubby later that evening.  We have a Friday night ritual of making pizza together as a family and going around the dinner table to acknowledge the people in our lives who we are thankful for–it’s a way to teach our young girls the power of gratitude, as this is a crucial aspect of our parenting techniques. After dinner, we tyically just unplug and relax.  I look forward to my Friday nights more so than any other day of the week. These nights typically are worry free, because we consciously try to NOT make any concrete plans.

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After grabbing my morning coffee, I headed back to my desk to check my phone.  And it was at this moment that I noticed an alerting message that would change the tone for the rest of my Friday, along with the pace of the next several weeks.  

There had been an accident at home with the girls.  Baby B had fallen.  She seemed OK, but cried for about 40 minutes straight after the fall.

As a pediatric ICU nurse, my mind went to the worst possible scenerio–

  • Was she conscious?
  • Did she hit her head?
  • Where did she fall?
  • Does she need an ambulance?
  • Is anything broken?

My babysitter handled a scary situation with tact and grace.  She was able to get Baby B calm and distracted until my husband and I commuted home.  I quickly realized that something was not right with my baby’s normal happy demeanor when I arrived home.  She was distracted and eating normally, but her right leg was sensitive to touch and she would NOT put any weight on it.

My husband and I quickly packed up the diaper bag and headed out to our nearest Children’s ER.  

Luckily I was able to meet my mom halfway there to watch my oldest daughter while we took Baby B to the hospital.  The waiting room was packed to the gills with sick kids–typical for any Friday night during flu and cold season!  We tried to shield our otherwise healthy baby away from the sickness and germs and prayed that our baby would soon be out of pain and that we would have some answers.

It truly is amazing in times of need when you run into old friends or coworkers!  Our ER triage nurse knew my husband from high school (small world!) and was able to quickly find a quiet place in the back of the ER where we could sit with Baby B while we waited for x-rays.  It was quiet, clean, and away from the hustle and bustle of Friday night ER antics.  Our primary ER nurses was also AMAZING, as we knew each other from back in our kickboxing days! The ER doctor was thorough and kind. Even the x-ray and transport techs were friendly and courteous.  Theses combined kind gestures of the ER staff made a seemingly scary ordeal seem manageable and seamless!

Baby B ER

Yes, we were dealt with a scary diagnosis:   Our baby girl broke two bones in her right leg and needs to get fitted for a full leg cast for at least 6 weeks.  Yes, it absolutely sucks.  Yes, she is not staying off of her leg and is in a lot of pain (how do you keep a cruising baby off of her leg?).  Yes, I would do anything to soften the blow and take this physical pain away from her.  Yes, I went though this ordeal 2 summers ago when my oldest daughter had orthopedic surgery in the same leg, weird! Yes, Baby B will not be able to learn to walk until she is out of her cast and her leg fully heals….hopefully by Christmas she will be walking!

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But we are so very grateful as a family to have each other.

Kids still play when they are hurt.  They adapt.  They find ways to work around their limitations.  And to watch Baby B figure out how to crawl with her giant full leg splint right now is priceless

Some day, she will only remember this moment from the memories and the pictures shared.  But someday, I hope to personally thank that triage nurse.  Her kind gesture to lend an extra hand for our family will never be forgotten.  

Some day, our girls will grow up to be kind, compassionate, and caring young women (with some fiesty sass in there as well!).  And we will teach them to be grateful for each moment along the way.  

So be grateful for the health of your precious little family today.  Because it is a gift worth fighting for!  

 

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Does the start of your workweek trigger overwhelming feelings of anxiety, or stress? Do you lack passion and motivation most Monday mornings? Do you find yourself getting withdrawn, tense, or short with others, starting on Sunday evenings?

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then you might have a case of the Monday Blues.

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The ‘Monday Blues’ describe a set of negative emotions that many people get at the beginning of the workweek when they are not feeling totally fulfilled in their respective jobs.  It may even lead to feelings of hopelessness and/or depression if left untreated.

 

The Monday Blues are so prevalent that they have become a right of passage for many, as they shrug things off to just the way things are in the world. But if you were truly happy in your job, you’d be excited and energized on Mondays– not tired and depressed.  

If you love your job and are passionate about what you’re doing, going in to work Monday morning is another opportunity to do what you love.  But if you’re feeling under-appreciated or unsatisfied with your job, it can be especially difficult to start another seemingly mundane workweek. 

As it turns out, your case of the Mondays can have a negative impact on your performance and productivity—as well as the people around you.

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There have been countless studies in psychology and neurology that your current emotional state has a huge effect on the quality of your work and when you’re feeling blue you are less productive, less motivated, more pessimistic, less creative, less engaged and learn more slowly.  

Your stress or bad mood can weigh heavily on the overall work culture in your job.

 

When you’re unhappy at work, it makes it very difficult for those around you to be happy, and oftentimes just one worker with a case of the Mondays can spread that negative energy to the whole team.

Here are 3 Strategies to beat (or avoid) the dreaded Monday Blues:

1. Identify the stress or problem. The first thing to do is to ask yourself what’s wrong with your current work situation. If you have the Monday Blues most weeks, then this is not something you should laugh off or just live with. It’s a significant sign that you may be unhappy at work and you need to be able and willing to fix it or move on and find another job.

I recently started asking my clients and coaches to make a list of the things they are unhappy about in their current job. Maybe it’s a negative client or a meeting with your team first thing on Monday morning, or maybe it’s that you don’t feel challenged–or maybe it’s all of the above. In either case, clarifying what is bothering you can help you try to be active in finding solutions. It’s a way of empowering you to take charge and try to improve the situation.

If you only suffer the occasional bout of mild Monday Blues, then try to put a positive spin on an otherwise dreary Monday for a few consecutive weeks and see how you are feeling.

2. Prepare for Monday on Friday. Mondays can be extra stressful from work that has potentially piled up from the previous week and, for many, can be challenging to jump right back in.

To help combat that Monday morning anxiety, be sure to leave yourself as few dreadful tasks as possible on Friday afternoon ( I know some things can be unavoidable).  By taking care of the things you least want to handle at the end of one work week, you’re making the start of the next that much cleaner and tolerable.

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If you do have some unpleasant tasks awaiting your attention Monday morning, get them done as early as possible so that you don’t spend the rest of the day procrastinating.  Make that uncomfortable phone call, resolve that outstanding issue, or clean up that mess that’s waiting for you. You’ll feel a lot better once it’s over and you can wipe the slate clean, and start fresh.

You’ll also want to make sure your calendar is up to date and synced, and you have a good view of and handle on your upcoming work week–especially Monday.  

3. Make a list of the things you’re excited about. We often look at the week ahead of us and think of all the tough stuff we have to do and the difficult tasks and hard stuff that’s ahead of us. Can you put a positive spin on that?  Every Sunday evening, make a list of three things you look forward to at work that week. These could be simple non work-related things such as ordering take-out in the city for lunch, or stopping by a local coffee shop near your office for a cup of java.  Or maybe your list is getting to connect with a new client or customer, or closing the deal on a big proposal.  If you can’t think of three things you look forward to, that might be an indication that you need to make some major changes.

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Now it’s your turn!  Which strategy can you see yourself implementing into your daily lives:  1, 2 or 3?  Comment below with your number and try out your new strategy for a few weeks, until it becomes a habit!


To all of my fellow MOMMAS– Yes, this post is for you so listen up!  

I wanted to address a few major topics that I have been seeing running rampant in social media these days:

HOW CAN I FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF WHEN EVERYONE AROUND ME IS PRETTIER/SKINNIER/RICHER/HAPPIER/MORE CREATIVE/A BETTER MOTHER/IN A BETTER MARRIAGE/ETC.?!

And, THOSE pretty blogs!  THOSE cookie cutter Facebook photos! THOSE edited fitness videos that make the pros like amateurs. They have a tendency to stir up those negative thoughts in our heads that say we are not good enough/smart enough/creative enough/skinny enough/desirable enough, etc.  There is just so much access to other women & their lives, outfits, homes, parties, etc.  And it seems more than ever before, women all over are faced with comparing themselves to others, and their deflating their self-esteem in the process.  

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And it could not be a better time to team back up with Deb over at debruns.com for the weekly Wednesday Word.  And this week, the word is:  COMPARISON.  What perfect timing for a word that has been plaguing American culture (and in particular, WOMEN), and our media outlets for quite some time!

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Here are just some topics that I find fellow mommas and women posting about in social media:

-Being super model-thin.

-Being the girl with the best outfit at the party.

-Being rich.

-Being popular.

-Being famous for something.

-Living in a nicer house.

I know it’s so easy to fall victim to this nonsense whether it is comparing husbands, the size of your butt/thighs/waist/boobs, comparing children’s accomplishments (currently experiencing how cut-throat preschool moms can be), the success of others, how quickly someone lost weight after having a baby, or even how much of that dessert you finished compared to other women sitting next to you at a girls’ night.

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For starters, can I just say, with all sincerity, that you women….ALL OF YOU….are awesome.   And you are great even with your imperfections.  Be gentler on yourself.  Be proud of your stretch marks.  Feel accomplished that you stay home with your little ones and teach them a solid foundation in this crazy world where social media trends dictate reality.  One of my greatest wishes is for YOU to figure out is how to tap into your self-worth & end this damaging cycle of comparison to others.

I know you can end that cycle.

…..with…..

LOVE and GRATITUDE!  Below are some examples of how to put your love and gratitude into action today:

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  1. THINK OF OTHERS, INSTEAD OF YOURSELF.  When I walk into a room – whether it is in a boardroom in corporate America, or a room full of local preschool moms from all backgrounds, or a room full of young urban teenagers with wit and style- Instead of thinking of MY inadequacies, I think about how I can relate to my audience:  How I can get to know them better, what are their common interests and/or goals, how can I brighten their day in some way, or how I can listen to what they have to offer and learn something new today.  Thinking of others viewpoints before those of yourself is an eye opening experience- I dare you to TRY IT!  It truly works like a charm.  And it’s a great way to ensure you look and feel radiant.
  2. EMBRACE THE BEAUTY & SUCCESS OF OTHERS.  Instead of letting the success of others bring me down, I feel excited for for them.  I feel special/grateful to be able to associate with someone so talented/creative/or successful.  After all, I belong to a whole fitness community of supportive professions who motivate, inspire, and support one another with Team Inspire.  So don’t miss out!  Surround yourself with people that you admire.  Reach out to them, love them, and learn from them.
  3. GIVE UP THE COMPARING OUT OF LOVE FOR YOUR LOVED ONES.  If you are dwelling in negativity and self criticism, guaranteed it will spew over to your husbands, kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, family and coworkers.  You can’t really hide that stuff.  And guess what – – it’s not attractive.  It doesn’t lead to happy marriages and relationships.  So if you are letting your desire for skinniness/riches/fame/attention make you feel negatively, think of the poisonous negative energy you are sending into the world and the effect it is having on others.  Consider that you are teaching your children to live this way as well.  Use your love for others as a catalyst for trying to change your ways.  Love really is the most powerful force that can help us to stay on track.
  4. HAVE LOVE & GRATITUDE FOR YOURSELF.   Think of every kind word that has ever come your way.  Think of every person you have influenced for the better.  Think about HOW BLESSED you are!!!!  Walking legs.  A smile.  Family.  A sense of humor.  A chance to be alive and get out in nature to explore this beautiful life!  No matter who you are or where you came from, enjoy the PRESENT moment because if you worry too much about the future, who may miss the beauty right beneath your EYES.

 

Do you struggle with a specific INSECURITY?  Let’s here all about it below so we can motivate each other to stress and compare less often and support and embrace MORE OFTEN!

 


Good morning weekday! I am busy rolling out of bed, looking in the mirror, sighing, brushing my teeth (maybe), and picking up that toddler and threenager and wandering into the kitchen and making homemade waffles, rinsing dishes, kissing the top of their heads, and waiting for my coffee to brew (pumpkin spice to be exact). There isn’t much glamour in being a “work at home” mom.

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There is you. You giving of yourself. Minute, by minute, by minute, by minute until those hours add up to create a day which adds up to create a week which adds up to create a month which adds up to create years which add up to create a life. A beautiful life filled with “ordinary enough” mom moments.

Somehow in this mixed up media world of things to do and places to go and dreams to follow the beauty of simply being a mother is completely lost.

BECAUSE BEING A MOM IS GOOD ENOUGH.

It’s enough, I say!

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Sometimes we want to look to those big things and use them as a grade for success. We look at the elite nursery school programs where the parents compete for that competitive edge.  We want the trips to the American Girl Doll in NYC and discount the time spent in the backyard. The bar of success and joy and happiness gets pushed so high by culture that the little things, the enough mom moments, are lost.

Do you know what matters?

Baby snuggles when teething.

Singing princess songs while out for a walk in the jogging stroller.  

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The things that don’t get celebrated on Pinterest that much. They’re the just a mom things that I write about and celebrate. They’re the things that most people probably won’t see.

They don’t see you stand in the bathroom and gather your resolve every morning. They don’t see those of you who mother alone without much support in the morning, because daddy’s already at work. They don’t see the trips to the car back and forth, or the late nights and early mornings.  They don’t see you counting to ten a dozen times before noon. They don’t see you look at the bank account and sigh and try to figure out how to make three meals with what’s left in your pantry. They don’t see you walking into the principals office, doctor’s office, friend’s house and defending your child.

They don’t see bandages placed on knees. Kisses on foreheads at night. Pillows pushed just the right way and blankets tucked to the perfect demands. Laundry folded and folded and folded again. Tears that sting your eyes as your keep going. Dinners prepped over the stove. Times of laughter over silly things. Hair brushed and pulled back into pony tails, or french braids if I’m feeling ambitious. . Prayers over little babes. Nights spent sleeping in a chair holding a sick child. Days where the house is a wreck but you’re reading books and putting a smile on your face. ..

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Those things matter.

Those things are the little things that add up and and up and up.

In fact, I say those “little” things are enough.  So happy Monday friends.  Laugh often.  Sing more.  Stress less.  Forget blow drying your hair and applying your eyeliner.  DO what makes you HAPPY and your kids will follow suit.  We are MOMS and role models for a reason, right?

 

Stella AND bRYNN

 

https://fango.me/u/qrs

 


Do children’s birthdays have to be complicated to be special?

Today will mark my second daughter’s birthday.  She is turning one year old— the milestone of birthdays to celebrate.

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Hosting a child’s birthday party can be  straight up exhausting. The pressure’s on to host a decked out, “no expenses spared” birthday bash held in a kids’ gym, museum or play area of some sort. But tally up all those expenses and you’re looking at close to a thousand dollars spent on a kid’s birthday party.  While I could come up with ideas for themed parties all day long, the reality of filling my house with children, decorating, planning creative games, and making invitations twice in two months is more than I can happily bear.

So I guess somewhere along the line, my husband and I have opted out. We’ve never rented a poney. Never reserved a community hall. Never set up a party at the local children’s play gym, or town swim club. Never, to my memory, sent out themed invitations matched to the napkins and gift bags. The girls are still young enough to not really expect an extravagant or over the top birthday party. Because usually, birthdays and holidays in our house consist of a small, family-only gathering for cake, a few presents…and that’s it.

I used to feel really guilty about that. Wasn’t I depriving my kids of a time-honored tradition: the crazy birthday party with clowns, magicians, maybe a petting zoo? Even without going to that extreme, didn’t I owe them some kind of bash to share with two dozen of their closest friends? Or at least some kind of theme, gift bags, hand-made decorations or an expensive trip to the party store?

But then I realized that just because it seems like everybody else seems to be throwing big, elaborate parties doesn’t mean I have to. Just because other moms are great at cake decorating doesn’t mean my scrawled efforts at writing with icing with some scattered candies for adornment aren’t good enough. Special, even, in their own predictable, laid-back way.

Sometimes we have a few cousins or an aunt and uncle or grandma and grandpop over. Sometimes not. I love that I don’t have to worry about RSVPs, reservations, or gift bags.  I love that the day is all about us, our family and our home.  Even if my extended family and friends don’t quite understand that concept.

A rather sloppy cake or Pinterest fail Minnie Mouse cupcakes (some years sloppier than others. Hey, I try, but this is one area where I’m lacking natural talent.)

Candles. Singing. Lots of smiles and laughter. As you can see, the kids don’t seem to be suffering.

Stella one year birthday

I do aspire to one day create a cake that doesn’t look like a first-grader’s science project. And we aren’t opposed to mixing it up a bit when we need to–for example, this year we are having the girls and family over my grandmother’s house for a swim party for my daughter’s birthday.

I also know that as my girls get older, their friends will become more and more important to them. Someday, they may prefer a trip to the mall or movies with their friends over sitting around the table eating cake. Maybe one day I’ll actually have the time, energy, and endless budget to put together one of those blowout parties my kids have never had.

But I think I’ll always look back fondly at our relaxed and sometimes quiet, family-centered birthday parties. They’re not stylish, and they’re not terribly exciting, but spending birthdays with just the four of us is our personal birthday ritual–something that is just for us, that helps make us the family we are. And you know what? It’s more than good enough.

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Have you ever felt guilty about throwing a low-key birthday for your children? What is your family’s birthday ritual?  I would love to see your comments below!


Happy Monday rockstars!  How is your morning going so far?  I am so blessed to be writing this post from the back deck of our rental beach house in gorgeous Ocean City, NJ.  I don’t always have the chance to sneak away and unplug for an entire week, but this year I guess the stars aligned to make it happen!  Or the universe knew I just needed a vacation– or BOTH!  I will say, the sleep situation is a bit dicey down here, as my girlies are completely thrown off their nap schedules and routines, but we are just rolling with the punches and learning to just enjoy the present moment.  Both girlies happen to be napping at the moment, so I felt inspired to pop on here to share some valuable content on how I learn to stay focused when life just seems to get hectic.  And I know I usually post on Mondays, so I did not want to disappoint all my fellow lifers/busy working moms out there.  Plus, it never hurts to start the week with some motivation and inspiration to tackle that busy to-do list…..

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So I have compiled a list of 5 tips to stay super focused.  These tips apply for the busy working professional, or the stressed out stay at home momma.  And this is truly just a guide to follow, so feel free to modify it to work for you:

  1. Write down your goals

I am a big proponent of compiling daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals.  I try to ensure they are attainable, and visible in a place where I can physically see them to reflect on them daily.  Evernote has a great app to store every type of list, from grocery lists, to goals, to specific workouts.  I also love Evernote because you can categorize your lists and search for them by dates, which makes organizing your lists a streamlined process.  I just started a new process of framing my goals in my home office, just for fun!  Looking up at a specific goal sometimes gives me that extra drive to push through a client plan or blog post when I am feeling a bit unmotivated.  Try to also put a timeframe, or deadline, on your goals, just to put the accountability ball in your court for achieving a specific goal.  How many goals is realistically optimal?  Well I am glad you asked!  Anywhere from 5-7 overall goals is doable for me (fitness, healthy eating, personal development, busines-related, social etc).  And don’t stress out if you can only brainstorm 3-4 goals….if you write them down and reflect on these goals daily, you will be in good shape!

2.  Identify your key productive time of day and capitalize on it

For me, the hours of 5 AM- 7 AM work best for me to do my most creative work.  I typically reserve this time for generating new content for my bootcamps and social media channels.  I also like to do my writing at this time.  I try NOT to just check emails during this time, if I know I can schedule this into my afternoons or evenings.  Now, if you are not a morning person, then don’t stress out about getting up early… find a time that works best for you!  One of my clients utilizes the hours of 2 PM- 4 PM while her kids are napping to bang out her power hour.  Not sure what time works best for you?  Try out some different times throughout the day and reflect on the work you accomplish.  It may take some trial and error to find a time that works best for you.

3.  Stay unplugged when you have a task on hand

This means keeping your phone on silent or airplane mode and not responding to texts, email, or phone calls unless urgent.  Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, and other social media channels tend to be huge time suckers.  I sometimes find myself wasting 20-30 minutes looking at random pictures when I went on Facebook to moderate a bootcamp….definitely can get frustrating!

 

 

4.  Schedule in family time

Yearning for a date night?  Or maybe a family dinner out?  Schedule it your planner or put it on your calendar.  I have learned in this business that family time is ALWAYS the top priority, then personal development, then work in that order.  While I try not to overcommit too often, I definitely aim not to turn down a family event due to work obligations if I can help it!

5.  Stay rested

The average American only sleeps about 6 hours per night.  However, most people need about 7.5-8 hours to function properly.  I definitely need to work on this one, as I think I am currently functioning on about 5-6 hours of sleep on a good day.  Then I wonder why I am “hitting the wall” and my creative juices are totally lacking later on most afternoons or evenings.  We all need more sleep, especially we as busy moms who tend to put everyone first before our own needs!

Do you have specific tips that work well for you to keep you organized and focused?  I would love to hear all about your organizational tips in the comments below!