Mother’s Day: A Reflection of Happy

eemothersday

I wrap my new baby in my arms and feel an overwhelming sense of love –and fear. Since her arrival my life seems disjointed, chaotic, jumbled. I am thinking in circles. Round and round the clock goes. Tick. Tick. Tick. My house is an organized mess. My thoughts are exhaustively incoherent. Am I doing this right?

Months go by. And so do the gurgles and spit-ups and dirty diapers. Her first smile enthralls me. Finally, I think to myself, a nod of approval. And then comes a giggle. One, two, three more. Sitting up, crawling, first steps. I am flooded with encouragement.

Years go by. And so do pre-school and kindergarten. A new baby brother to love. I am standing in my kitchen and this blonde-haired, bright-eyed, six year-old beauty runs up, tugs at my skirt, and grins.

I smile widely. Right back at a ya little one.

And we continue on.

Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy every second! Much love to you all… ~lisa

7 Ways to Live a Long, Healthy Life

healthquote.jpg

We all want to live a long, vibrant, and energetic life, right? Right. So the question is how do we do that? With the stresses of motherhood, careers, PTA meetings, extracurriculars, volunteer work, music lessons, and soccer practice – how do we keep ourselves healthy and happy while balancing the chaos that encompasses our every day?

Let’s first understand that health is not a guarantee. It is almost certainly a result of the choices we make. The choices we make not only for ourselves, but for our children as well. It is very important we lay a strong foundation of wellness within our families.

Here are some tips to get us engaged and active in creating and maintaining a livelier, healthier life:

1. Keep moving. Stay physically active. Walk, run, or cycle. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba. Whatever your preferred method of working out is (assuming you have one), continue doing it. And if you don’t have one, find one. Exercise not only improves mood, it also increases energy levels and boosts immunity.

2. Eat well. Know your food. Know your farmer. Eat the rainbow. When possible, choose local and organic. Organic fruits and vegetables are less likely to contain pesticide residues. Avoid industrialized meats and dairy. Instead opt for pastured/organic meats and dairy which are raised without the use of antibiotics and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which is a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production. Avoid empty calories, processed foods, and boxed junk. These foods contain many ingredients that contribute to weight gain and other diseases.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s natural for human beings to feed off of each other’s energy. It only seems logical then that in order to be happy, you need to surround yourself with upbeat, optimistic, and encouraging people. There is no room in your life for the Debbie-downers of the world. Learn how to develop strong, intimate relationships with those closest to you.

4. Enjoy living in the moment. Live for today with what you already have. The grass is always greener on your side of the fence if you are willing to see it that way. What is the saying – Live. Laugh. Love.? Well there’s no better time to start doing those three things then right NOW.

5. Challenge yourself mentally. Never stop learning. For when we stop learning, we essentially stop living. Keep yourself involved in new things. Pick up an instrument, read something, take up writing or painting. Your passion and zest for life will stay alive and well if you remain open to new experiences and ideas.

6. Meditate. This is a great way to let go of stress, rest, and reconnect with yourself. It’s also a great way to relieve tension, anxiety, frustration, and fear. Mediation can be done anywhere at anytime. You can do it on the go with just the act of taking a few deep breaths or you can dedicate a specific time of day/night for a more intimate session.

7. Be thankful. Write down a list of things you a thankful for. And then? Be thankful for them. :)

the real spring

Today is the Spring Equinox in this part of the world. A time for renewal and joy as the earth awakens from its winter slumber and life begins again. Spring is the season of rebirth. The smell in the air and the warmth from the sun brings us all a sense of peace and nostalgia. We are reminded once again of the wondrous beauty nature has to offer. The flowers are in bloom and the sounds of birds tweeting, twittering, and chirping bring music to our ears. There’s just something about the way spring rides in and changes the minds and moods of everyone it touches. It’s magical.

This magic also brings with it a long list of things that need to get done (you know, more to add to our never-ending list of mommy duties and whatnot), but it’s okay because it’s spring. Spring cleaning makes me happy. Dusting, vacuuming, digging, bagging, junking, watering, weeding, spraying, cleaning, and washing just seem easier to accomplish in the springtime. I don’t know why, but as long as my windows are open and the sunshine is rolling in, I can clean every toilet and bathtub in the house with a smile on my face. The same goes for rounding up dust bunnies from under the couch, giving the pantry a makeover, and sorting through the kids sock and underwear drawer. And when it’s all said and done (if ever), the celebratory dance I do in praise of my now organized and rejuvenated home could not be more justified.

Spring is also a time for cleansing our inner souls. A time for change. A time to look within ourselves, to be conscious of who we are and who we want to become. A chance to focus on what really matters in life and to reinvent ourselves as mothers, as daughters, as sisters, as aunts, as friends, as women.

Here is my “real” to do list this spring:

Happy Spring!

ps. It’s freezing and snowing where I live, but I am telling myself to embrace it. Hey, at least the sun is was shining today.

“The Real Spring” was published on March 22.2012 by Mommy OM.

Refocus Your Focus

istock photo by lovelens

istock photo by lovelens

Meditation every day can be tough. Daunting even. Most often, it may seem like work. Work that you just don’t have time for. Work that frustrates more than calms. Work that fits nowhere into the list of priorities you have set for your day. After all, mediation is the art of focus. Focusing 100% of your attention in one specific area. Actively engaging your mind and body in mediation is a process. A process that at first may not come easily.

A few steps to help simplify the task of meditation:

1. Let your breath be your guide. Listen to the sound of your inhale and exhale. Take even breaths. In and out. In and out. In other words, don’t concentrate so hard that you start to hyperventilate. Yes. This has happened to me. I became so fixated on the act of breathing that I needed a brown paper bag and a cold wash cloth. <Pfft. Snort. It’s funny now.>

2. Find your purpose. Spiritual? Connectedness? Relaxation? All of the above? Remember that your purpose in each meditation can and will change. Today, my purpose was to wallow in the depths of a silent room. As time ticked slowly and silently by. Tick. Tick. Tick. 

3. Consciously clear your mind of frustration, stress, anxiety, and fearRepeat after me: It’s okay the baby didn’t sleep through the night. It’s okay that I’m tired. It’s okay that the kids threw trains at each other’s heads (granted no one was seriously hurt). It’s okay. It’s okay. I promise. 

4. Adjust your body to a position of renewal. Lotus pose. Tree pose. Child’s pose. Corpse pose. Sleep pose. 

5. Be grateful. Practice awareness outside of formal mediation. Find your breath actively during each day. Take in the beauty that surrounds you. The warmth of the winter sun. The purity of your child’s face. The kindness in your best friend’s actions. The umpteenth time you’ve stepped on a freakin’ Lego. Breathe. Be grateful. The pain in your foot will subside, that is – until next time. <oooommmmmmm.>

when parenting meets reality

reality

Have you ever met the perfect parent? Well I have to say that before I had kids, I was the perfect parent. In my pre-kids era, I had a big old list of all the things my kids would NEVER ever do, say, or wear. Here are some examples:

  1. My kids will always listen.
  2. My kids will never have snot hanging from their nose.
  3. My kids will always be respectful and use “inside voices” in appropriate places and situations.
  4. My kids will never hang off the shopping cart crying at Target or run away from me and hide in a sea of clothes racks.
  5. My kids will never have meltdowns in public places.
  6. My kids will never jump on furniture or on each other for that matter.
  7. My kids will always say “please” and “thank you.”
  8. My kids will always be dressed neatly and will never “wear” their breakfast, lunch, or dinner or eat off of the floor.
  9. My kids will never push, hit, or pull the hair of another human being.
  10. My kids will never throw things while having a tantrum. Oh heck, my kids will never throw a tantrum.
Then reality set in when I became a mom. I had to tweak my list a bit. Here goes:
1. My kids will always listen. Except when they don’t and I have to send them to time out.
2. My kids will never have snot hanging from their nose. Except when they’re sick or when I haven’t gotten around to wiping them yet or when I forgot to use my sleeve/shirt,pants,etc.etc.
3. My kids will always be respectful and use “inside voices” in appropriate places and situations. Except when they shout and I have to remove them from said place (museum, movie theater, grocery store, library, etc.).
4. My kids will never hang off the shopping cart crying at Target or run away from me and hide in a sea of clothes racks. Except when I lose sight of them for one second and I start frantically calling their name and searching for them, only to find them hiding in a sea of flannel pajamas. 
Can you find my kid? Yeah, me neither.
5My kids will never have meltdowns in public places. Except when they are cranky and they want something and I say “NO!”
6My kids will never jump on furniture or on each other for that matter. Except when they get excited about something and decide to celebrate by cannon-balling off the sofa.
7My kids will always say “please” and “thank you.” Except when they forget or don’t want to and I have to remind them. {again and again and again and again}.
8. My kids will always be dressed neatly and will never “wear” their breakfast, lunch, or dinner or eat off of the floor. Except when they are babies and toddlers and kids, because HELLO- kids are messy and get dirty.
9. My kids will never push, hit, or pull the hair of another human beingExcept every so often when said human being steals their toy and I can’t get in there quick enough to prevent the pushing or hitting or pulling from happening. 
10My kids will never throw things while having a tantrum. Oh heck, my kids will never throw a tantrum. Except when they do. Because kids are kids and sometimes they get upset and don’t have the capacity to control their feelings. After all, they’re just kids. 

As you can see, I had extremely high parenting expectations before I had kids. I think a lot of (first time) parents do. But now that they’re here in the flesh, I have succumbed to the reality that I can’t control everything. Really. My family is not perfect. The best I can do is teach my kids right from wrong, instill proper values into their lives, and above all else, love them unconditionally. Oh and hope for the best.

Reblogged from February 2012 archives by Mommy OM.

Encourage Your Kids Fashion Personality

ellabeautiful

Children are naturally expressive. Their diverse personalities are reflected through their voice, body movements, imaginations, and teachings. We learn more and more about our children as they grow: What makes them giggle. What makes them cry. Their favorite foods. Favorite colors. Blocks versus Legos. Crayons versus paint. More importantly, children too, learn to identify with themselves through the choices they make as they continually strive for independence.

One great way to encourage personality development and expression is through clothing. From early on, it is essentially ‘we the parents’ who define our children through their clothing. The clothing we choose for our infants and toddlers usually reflects our own sense of ideals, beliefs, and style. But soon, even younger children begin to show signs of fondness for certain colors, textures, and patterns in clothing. Long sleeves versus short. Stripes versus polka dots. Skirts versus pants. Most often, children will naturally gravitate towards apparel which reflects how they are feeling in that particular moment.

You may have a child who loves to wear tutu’s and princess crowns all day long. Or one that wears his favorite blue t-shirt every single day no matter what. A superhero who needs a red cape. A little one who won’t go anywhere without flowers in her hair and mismatched plaids and prints. Rain boots in winter and snow boots in summer. Sunglasses, hats, knitted scarves, etc. As long as they are safe and dressed in what is deemed “appropriate,” I say let them get creative.

By allowing our kids the freedom to decide we are instilling and encouraging not only sense of self, but critical thinking, positive assertion, and problem solving skills. And along with our guidance and love, these kids are destined to be little rock stars in their own right.