Let Them Be Kids…

It’s happening again: the abundance of cute kid baseball pictures, social media posts about kids’ home run at-bats, and after- game ice cream shop visits.

Here is the reason why our 4 year old does not play an organized sport: We are selfish parents.

We enjoy our disorganized and leisurely evenings. It won’t be long before we are encouraging our kids to try various recreationional activities, shuffling them around, leaving straight form work and not returning home until after dark.

For now we are enjoying being home. Our children are growing up so fast it’s insane to me they are no longer babies.

We believe it’s particularly valuable for kids to explore and perhaps even become focused on a particular interest, whether that is art or music lessons, karate, little league or dance.

There is also merit in putting off the structured activities and rather gardening with your kids, doing crafts, or playing silly make believe games.

It’s valuable they try different avenues in life and learn flexibility. We will always have them finish what they start even if not enjoying it- we will power through it: teaching the valuable lesson of starting what you finish. 

 However, we will also wish to empower our children to make their own decisions about what they enjoy doing in their free time. Not what we want to do- what they want to do.

Minus wrestling, I think fungus on mats and simply cannot handle it.

They will never be forced to continue an activity they are not enjoying. Some may say we aren’t teaching our children “grit” or “perseverance,”  but I personally believe we will be teaching them to chase their dreams and to become well rounded individuals.

As a former athlete, I completely agree with the social lesson that playing on a team teaches. It is possible to make excellent grades even with a hectic year-round training and sports schedule. It is possible (not for me, but for some) to obtain a scholarship to a school for your talent.

It is also highly possible that they will get burnt out, sick of being identified solely as “the soccer player” or the “straight-A athlete- student.” Tired of evening bus rides home cramming for a big test tomorrow, showering at 10pm, and waking up at 6am for it all to start the next day. I speak for myself of course.

Sound familiar? It sounds like a day in the life of an adult. The alarm rings, we shower, many of us go into an office where there is structure, expectations, and deadlines to meet. We eat when we can fit it in and we go home to shuffle our kids around town? 

At 4 years old do we need so much structure? I’m not saying a lack of it but so much?

No thank you. I was “this close” to enrolling our now 4 year old in little league last fall…. we never enrolled him.

We opted for on-site (during school hours) karate classes at his daycare. So when I picked him up, I could hear all about his lessons but we were able to go straight home to eat dinner, play, read books, take a walk around the block, rake leaves, bake cookies, watch movies, and snuggle before bed.   

I think you understand what I am getting at…Leisure. One on one family time. 

A relaxed evening, relaxed kids, and a relaxed mom and dad.  Pure selfish bliss.

Having two young children is tough- navigating this in a marriage and pivoting it against a 40 hour work week is even tougher.

Why are so many young families torturing themselves with so many after-school/work activities? I’m not presenting anything new here. I see articles about this all the time.

Perhaps I am justifying a “fear of judgment” from my parental peers that my kid will not be able to catch up to his peers athletically.  So I am justifying our family leisure time as somehow a better lifestyle for young children? I’m not even sure myself. I am more relaxed because of it though.

We are not better parents than anyone else.  My kitchen is probably equally as messy as #1 soccer mom’s kitchen. Some parents may live for the ball diamonds. This mom does not.

To be honest, at this point, our son would probably be the kid picking flowers or bugs in the outfield. 

I did not personally start playing league softball until 4th grade. I recall feeling behind but I caught up. I became a valued member of all the teams I played on with the help of a dad who was involved as a coach.

I got burnt out on softball by middle school and tried track a few years (this bod was not meant for running and I was a danger to all in the vicinity with the discus). I went on to try out for soccer my freshman year of high school and eventually became a leader on the Varsity team by my Sophomore through Senior years. Somewhere in there I took some art lessons too. I should have done more art lessons! 

The lessons I learned in biding my time properly, self- practice in the off season, goal setting,  and how to dedicate myself to a team  is invaluable as an adult. Even if I shunned it all right out of high school and traded it in for environmental rally’s and poetry courses.  I have long lasting memories of my time playing softball as a young child.

However, my time spent playing on the metal swing set in the backyard, playing spy games with the neighbor kids, pretending to be a captain on a ship with a plain cardboard box, or swimming at the pool with my mom and grandma are my happiest memories.  

I want that for my children. A forever memory to be formed from a lazy Wednesday evening in the backyard or a Saturday morning garage sale hunt for the perfect toy.

Trust me; I look forward to seeing my daughter in a gym leotard or karate jacket. In a few years.

I’m positive that she looks equally as precious covered head to toe in garden dirt.

I don’t judge the parents with their kids in early age sports. I surely am not jealous of their busy schedules. We are selfish parents. We are not willing to share our kids with coaches or other kids; we will, but not now, not this summer.  There is always next year.

I just don’t want to be a soccer mom quite yet.

Britain Inspired Luxury: The Cheshire Hotel, St. Louis




My husband and I visited the historic Cheshire Inn in St. Louis, MO last week.  We had a lovely time and were so impressed we hope to return again in October. I had an early appointment at a nearby hospital, but we figured, make the most out of a night alone!


We walked next door at the Cheshire complex to a downstairs pub and eatery, Basso.

I had a Bells Oberon and tried the  Margherita pizza (hand tossed and wood fired) made with fresh basil and cheese curds.  My husband had the Emo Cover Band pizza that included: sausage, cippolini, pancetta, mushrooms, and poblano. Excellent food.

A step across the parking lot and were at Basso…


Basso is an American twist on Italian (great beer and wine selections).  Boundary serves “a modern interpretation of comforting classics.” We chose Basso for their cheaper fare and weekday specials.


Basso Specials:  Join us Monday – Friday from 4 pm – 7 pm for these incredible Happy Hour specials:

-$5 select wines
-$4 craft beers
-$7 craft cocktails
-$4-$7 bar menu, including $7 two topping pizzas

There is also a Starbucks in the complex.

We returned back to the hotel after walking around the area for awhile, which felt safe. Quaint and well kept houses are across the street.

The Cheshire building started as a hamburger stand in 1930 and was the Bill & Blossom Medarts Old Cheshire previously.   It was newly remodeled in 2011.   It is located only 4 miles from the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum and within a short driving distance  to downtown.

This would be a perfect hotel for a getaway with your kids or just alone with your spouse.


That’s not Paddington Bear…

The decorum alone will make this your hotel of choice in St. Louis.  I only wish our kids were with us to see all the antique paintings and unusual decorations, like vases, chairs, and statues.  (Well, a date night alone sans kids was also nice!)


“It’s so iconic that when George Clooney and his producers wanted some well-known St. Louis locations for the movie “Up in the Air,” the Cheshire Inn was among them.” [1]


There is some lore that the hotel is haunted but I could only fine one or two articles engaging that conversation. There  is mention of a ghostly piano player.  (I think this is just due to it’s age and character we had no creepy vibes at the hotel.)

Now, the Fox Theatre which is about 5 miles away has plenty of spirit lore to it. Read this article on their haunted tour. 


 Each room is titled with a different British authors name and a book of their work is in the room to peruse.

We went on a “scavenger hunt” to locate the Tolkien Room (we are big Lord of the Rings fans).   We checked out the fitness center which had nice equipment and was stocked with apples and fruit bars.  Not to mention the floor to ceiling mirrors. Very cool!

Ultimately, the Cheshire was homey and welcoming. The staff was extremely nice and courteous and the other patrons were even friendly.  We went downstairs around 9pm and an older company was sitting and playing chess. It was so adorable.

We could hear the clinks of drinks and echoes of conversation from the Fox and the Hound tavern but opted out of any nightcaps.

Our room was perfect for two- the bed was comfortable, the room was super clean, and we had an amazing view of the outside pool area.

Complimentary breakfast is also served every morning at the Cheshire. I had a delicious lemon, cranberry and nut muffin, a cranberry scone, eggs, and strawberries. Yum!


My only “complaint” is for the cost of the room there was no fridge.  We survived without one however. Check out The Cheshire’s website for more details!



  1. New Life for the Cheshire. January 2011. St. Louis Post Dispatch. www.stltoday.com

Happy Parenting: Why Spanking is Outdated and Harmful to Children

My husband has always said, “I cannot think of one thing my child would do that would be so bad that  I would ever hit them. I’m a grown man, they are a child.”  He also will typically go on to state, if I ever did spank them, it would be out of anger and that is simply wrong and selfish.

Any discussion he has with parents that spank- he asks them: “Tell me one good thing that results from spanking your child that talking to them [or disciplining other ways] couldn’t result in?”

He is typically met with no response.   I think he sometimes hears, “It never hurt me any” or “It stops them” sometimes.  No, really, I would stop if I was hit too.  Great response.

“Thirty-two countries prohibit physical punishment of children by parents or caregivers, but the practice is allowed in the United States and Canada. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends against the use of physical punishment as a form of child discipline.” [2]

Unfortunately, one of our [update 5/5/16: former] presidential candidates openly admits to spanking his children. Ted Cruz stated, “You know I’ll tell you, in my house, if my daughter Catherine, the five-year-old, says something she knows to be false, she gets a spanking.” [3]

Why one would seem so proud of this fact, I’m unsure of actually.  A grown adult spanking a child is one of the most uncomfortable sites that I witness a few times a year.

It saddens me for all the tools available to us today, we resort to this notion of physical aggression towards our youth for discipline and somehow twist it into a conservative “value.” There is no value in hitting. Period.

The following is what occurs in our home if our child lies to us:  We give him the opportunity to tell us the truth. If he does not, we ask him again what he said and we make him repeat it until the lie eventually turns into him confessing the truth.  We tell him we appreciate him telling the truth and we are proud of him for that.

We explain to him lies hurt people and the truth is important and it feels better to tell the truth.  Then we give him a consequence (no treats for 3 days, for example).  He actually takes this fairly well, he understands.  Our 4 year old rarely lies to us as a result.

We are also sparing him the damaging effects of physical punishment.

“We find children who are physically punished get more aggressive over time and those who are not physically punished get less aggressive over time,” says Joan Durrant, the article’s lead author and a child clinical psychologist and professor of family social sciences at the University of Manitoba. ” [1]

img_1196This is a topic I have shied away from for a while now. First of all, I know many parents that spank or justify spanking in certain situations.  Secondly, I could not write this article without explaining that I did it myself- once.

Yes, public confession time. I did it at a desperate and exhausted moment and it proved to me – spanking is often done as a last resort when the parent can no longer intelligently control their emotions.

It may also be a parent’s default tool, I don’t personally know parents that use it as a default, but when I see a parent spanking their kid for “not walking fast enough” at the grocery store- that is probably that parent’s main method of control. It saddens me. Even if done later or not out of anger. If we are not angry anymore at the child- why not just talk to them?

Don’t forget that word control either, we will revisit that word.

The few parents I know that do confess to spanking, typically justify it as “it never hurt me any as a child” or  “I never do it when I’m angry” or “I only do it when they need to learn something isn’t safe, like running in the street.”  I’m not sure how a spanking drives home the point to a 2 year old not to run into traffic, but hey, say what you need to yourself to sleep at night.

Back to my parenting horror story:

I had been back to work for just 3 days from maternity leave (my daughter deciding she wouldn’t drink a bottle all day long didn’t help my stress levels), navigating pumping at work, how to be a working mom again, and my husband had gone to the ER at 6pm with extreme abdominal pain.

Two hospitals later he found out he needed an emergency appendectomy. This was on the eve of my parents leaving on vacation and my mother in law was visiting us without a car.

My amazing parents delayed their vacation to drive my mother in law to the hospital at like 4 a.m. so I could stay home with the kids and she could be with her son during his surgery. My father in law drove up from Kentucky also to be here to help us.

My husband had developed an infection, so I was very worried. I was utterly exhausted from a lack of sleep the night before and constant worry. I’m not a crier but I did that day, a lot.

My daughter had just gone to sleep for the night and I was exhausted. My son, who was a little over 2 at the time, knocked over several glass picture frames on our entertainment center in a moment of intentional misbehavior.

Why we had glass frames within a toddler’s reach is beyond me? So really who was to blame there?

I picked him up in case anything was broken and in a moment of  pure emotion, I spanked his little behind. Naturally, he stopped, he cried, and he said “Mommy why you hit me?”  Broke. My. Heart.  I started crying and hugging him and of course he hugged me back so tightly. He forgave me. My mother in law walked in to me crying and holding him and patted my back and reassured me my husband was doing well and it would all be okay.

 I had completely broken the value system my husband and I had set before we ever had kids.   I get a pit in my stomach whenever I think of it. I’ve told a few friends who remind me I am human and I had extenuating circumstances and not to feel guilty. I’ve since moved on from the guilt, chalked it up to a big parenting mistake.

We had decided not to spank for several reasons: We didn’t want our emotional responses used to discipline. We wanted to be the parents that communicate with our children verbally to teach them behavior.  We felt it was an outdated method (we had no clue so many parents still did it actually!) My parents never once spanked their three children, so I had no exposure to it.  My husband felt spanking in his childhood was ineffective. Of course, generationally there were not the parenting tools available today and the studies had not proven its dangers yet.

Why encroach physical punishment on a child doing what children do? Exploring, misbehaving, testing, throwing a tantrum, pestering their sibling, acting out when they are hungry, tired, or bored.

How does physically invading one’s bodily space and making them feel unsafe help them learn things like self-control, expressing their anger verbally, or overcoming frustrating obstacles by trying again?

It doesn’t.

Life can be tiring and daily stressors easily accumulate and manifest into a swarm of emotions for parents (and our children).

Allowing those normal emotional responses to develop into a physical form of disciplinary action is mere selfishness. We have to take care of ourselves as parents to avoid those emotional pitfalls.  Exercise, time to ourselves, relaxation techniques, and educating ourselves in various parenting techniques can help us be better parents.

Using outdated notions of discipline and some sort of parent/child power hierarchy won’t cut it in the new age of parenting. I’m not talking about our children running all over us  and I’m not talking about parenting by being a “friend.”

We are not doing our children a disservice by teaching them to be loving. We are doing them a grave injustice however by teaching them it’s okay to cause harm.

I have seen too many social media blog posts about how we are turning our children into pansies or a spoiled generation and I simply don’t agree with the notion that tough love or spanking is necessary. Also, at what age is spanking crossing the line.  You wouldn’t want your 12 year old daughter struck by her boyfriend or her father, correct? Why is this okay for her to be struck as a 5 year old? It simply does not make sense!

Spanking: Yes, it stops the child. If you were struck, you would stop too.

The irony of hitting a person to teach them not to do something seems about the most unintelligent and archaic notion of guiding our children to do better.

There I said it, that may strike some as judgmental, but this is an opinion piece (albeit I quote some great sources) and that is my opinion. Spanking is an unintelligent and emotionally charged means of stopping a behavior.

Childbank.org statistics show that college educated adults are less likely to spank their children. Interesting, but these are still surprisingly high numbers in my opinion. Of course, I’m not saying people who spank their children are un-intelligent people.

What I am saying, is spanking is an outdated and archaic notion of discipline. There are more intelligent and creative means to get your point across.



Remember that word “control” from earlier? Parenting is not to “control” our children, parenting is to “guide” them. If we raise another human under the guise that we can control them, as parents we will run into a world of frustration during their later formative years.  We will also run into difficulty allowing them become an adult with their own volitions and respecting their life decisions.

As parents, we guide, we feed, we nourish, and that baby plant of ours is transplanted into the world to grow more on their own, away from us. They take the lessons and values they learned, but ultimately we have to respect they are a separate entity.

We have found in parenting that guiding, communicating, time outs for more serious offenses, and positive behavior reinforcement, and sometimes threatening and/or taking away privileges like dessert or toys works with our 4 year old. He is 4, we expect him to behave as a 4 year old, but we also expect him to learn from us.

Is this approach involved? Yes, it takes time, creativity, energy and quick thinking, often on the fly.

Our children know they are safe, they can tell us the truth, but there will be consequences.

Does our 4 year old still haul off and shove his sister sometimes? Yes.  He knows there are consequences and we see him understanding more every day how to better control himself.

All you need to do is look at the facts:

“…none of more than 80 studies on the effects of physical punishment have succeeded in finding positive associations. “If someone were to hit us to change our behavior, it might harm our relationship with that person. We might feel resentful,” says Durrant. “It’s no different for children. It’s not a constructive thing to do.” [1]

A child is not spoiled by not being spanked, they are guided away from negative behaviors instead. They don’t avoid the poor behavior to merely to avoid physical punishment out of fear of harm. They avoid it because they have learned it is frowned upon and it’s “not right.”

As parents, we should not allow our daily stresses to manifest into a discourse of violence   Yes, I say violence.  Hitting or spanking is a violent attempt at controlling another’s behavior and in the long term it’s ineffective and damaging:

“There’s neuroimaging evidence that physical punishment may alter parts of the brain involved in performance on IQ tests and up the likelihood of substance abuse. And there’s also early data that spanking could affect areas of the brain involved in emotion and stress regulation.” [1]

The magnitude of tools we have at our disposal in this generation is vast: time out chairs, links upon links to parenting articles, Super Nanny tips, Kids shows about every behavior topic imaginable, smart phone apps,  encouragement charts, and shockingly enough- getting down at eye level and talking to our children (post tantrum or tirade of course).

Even prayers with your child to “do better staying calm tomorrow” or “be nicer to my sister tomorrow” can be used as a tool if you go that route. We encourage our 4 year old to state “I am so mad.” We acknowledge what is making him mad and we give him tips on how to change that response for next time.

“When children see someone resolve conflict with aggression, they are more likely to learn that behavior,” says Durrant. “Two-year-olds are the most aggressive people in the world. They don’t understand the impact of their behavior, and they can’t inhibit themselves. So the more a child sees someone resolving conflict with aggression, the more aggressive they become.” [1]

Could your child still turn out the aggressive type even without being spanked? Of course. There is a litany of factors in our brains that affect how we deal with stress. Could a child that is spanked turn out to be the next great peacemaker in the world? Of course.

Same as I don’t want to “turn on” a genetic predisposition for cancer by feeding my kids preservatives, dyes, and chemical-laced foods, I don’t want to turn on any predisposition for aggression.

Spanking  children leads to chaos in the home, regret, repression, guilt, and yes, more aggressive behaviors. If spanking is so effective, why the need to continue spanking?

As my husband says, ““I cannot think of one thing my child would do that would be so bad that  I would ever hit them. I’m a grown man, they are a child.”

If my child hits me or his sister, it make NO sense to hit him back.  Do the thing that they just did to teach them not to do it? HUH?

To quote Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland:

Alice: If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

I almost didn’t add this next part because I didn’t want to come across condescending or prideful:
“Our children are well behaved.”  They are 2 and 4 and do normal misbehaviors for their age.  So if you see me at the grocery, yes one very well could be having a tantrum or whining! We are not perfect! Even I whine when I’m hungry, tired, or have a headache.

They are also very different personalities, so we didn’t just “luck out” and have two calm kids. Our parenting style is pretty calm and I think that leads to relative peace in our household. Our oldest is thoughtful, very insistent, and likes things done a certain way- his way. Our youngest is spunky, willful, and vocal (LOUD) when she wants something.

However, we are guiding and teaching them to behave properly. That is our JOB as parents. Make them feel safe enough in a calm environment to make mistakes and learn from them.

If we justify spanking our children, then as a nation, we are taking the easy approach to parenting and possibly causing our children long term damage. I beg the parents of our country to find a more intelligent and mindful approach to guiding our youth.

There is enough violence in the world without contributing to it.



  1. Rochman, Bonnie. February 6, 2012.  Why Spanking Doesn’t Work.  Healthlandtime.com

2. Bennet-Smith, Meredith. October 22, 2013.  Study Links Spanking to Increased Aggression, Language Problems. www.huffingtonpost.com

3. Bump, Philip. January 9, 2016.  Ted Cruz Spanks His Daughter and Republicans are Okay with That.  www.washingtonpost.com

Simple Health & Happiness Tips!

We will start with health and work our way up to wellness and happiness! I’ve been wanting to post this for a while, going back through drafts, I stumbled across this list I had started. I hope you enjoy!img_7180

Eat a salad every day.  There are so many vitamins packed into healthy greens and vegetables such as vitamin A, C, K as well as iron and calcium.

Choose Organic.  Choose color varieties and the more color (dark green, red, purple) the better. Always add a protein source- (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, cooked or skillet- fried tempeh or black beans). Add sweet peppers, tomatoes, or oranges for vitamin c to boost the iron absorption from your salad.  Add Kale- a superfood. I add Kale to just about everything,- even taco or tuna casseroles.

 Avoid artificial ingredients or colorings in your salad dressing choices. Read the label. Why eat kale if you smother it in yellow dye #5?

Drink Lemon Water Daily. Warm lemon water first thing in the morning to boost your vitamin C for the day and start your metabolism. Lemon has additional detoxifying and alkaline effects on the body. It detoxes the kidneys and liver.  If warm lemon water sounds gross to you, try cold lemonade:

Homemade Single Lemonade (my son loves this one- he likes to mix it up!)  16 oz. water + 1 whole  lemon’s juice + 2 packets or 1 tsp.  organic Stevia in the Raw.  Add ice.   Drink up!

 Probiotics!  Read my article here on probiotics and why you should take them every day to maintain a healthy immune system and digestion.

imageEat organic. Avoid toxins in your foods by avoiding the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables. I always buy organic of these certain fruits and veggies. If they are not in stock in organic, I buy something else. Organic dairy and meat is a must also- to avoid growth hormones.

Essential Oils. Of course! We use oils for relaxation or an energy boost. We avoid OTC medication by using oils for headache or digestion relief. They are excellent for skin care.

Stretch or yoga. My college yoga instructor stated when we are young our muscles are like saplings-green and bendable but as we grow older the muscles become tight and more like hard wood or a tree trunk. Staying flexible relieves tension and joint issues as you age. Yoga can help you maintain tone and muscle mass. Let alone the relaxation benefits…

 Sleep 7-8 hours a night.   Prep for a proper night by turning off electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Commit to do something relaxing like yoga, stretching, reading a book or easy meal prep for the next day most nights of the week. 

Any rhythmic activity, like quietly folding laundry or breathing techniques will help you wind down. Melatonin supplements help some fall asleep and it’s a natural alternative to prescription sleep aids. (Always check with your medical doctor first!)

Sleep helps us maintain a healthy weight and keeps our skin looking youthful!

Use Non- Toxic products. What we put on your skin absorbs into our bodies. Our skin is the largest organ and a permeable membrane. Treat it accordingly. Non-toxic can be very affordable if you buy simple and in bulk. Coconut oil  can be used in your hair, for your nail health, eye makeup remover, and in cooking. 

11209565_10205551722285680_6789991124190063327_n Be a kid again!  Color,  eat ice cream for breakfast, dance like a fool with your kids, write a funny poem, or walk around  barefoot in your backyard. I can be serious at work, but at home it’s better to let loose. 

Be mindful. Live in the moment. Develop a mantra if you need help living in the moment, such as “Focus on the here and now” or “Enjoy this moment as it is.” Recite it anytime you feel your mind stray. Try using your five senses to enjoy the now. What do I see, hear, smell? What can I touch or taste?

Get outside daily. Take a work-break walk.  Park far away in the parking lot at work and enjoy the walk to and from your car, sit out back on your porch, or choose a restaurant where you can dine outdoors.

Write down your 2 top worries today, then  let them go. If you cannot change it, you cannot control it, and you need to let it go! You cannot change someone else, but you CAN change your reaction.

Write an appreciation list. One thing you are grateful for today (opening the windows and getting fresh air in the house today, a big hug from your spouse or child, a hilarious text from a friend, fresh gelato, getting your favorite magazine in the mail).

 Give a hug, ask for a hug, tell someone you love them today. You never know when it is the last time you may see someone.  Humans are pack animals, we desire touch and closeness. Don’t let the world or stressors get in the way.


Do something spiritual.  I don’t care what your affiliations are, anyone can say a prayer from your holy book, say a mantra, or say a blessing of thanks to the trees. Connect to something bigger than yourself.

Find serenity in seeking your own truth, what do you find solace and deep connection with a higher power in doing? Church? A walk in nature?  It’s all a valid way to give thanks and live a satisfied life- to feel and know you are part of something greater.  There is such beauty to be found in spiritual connections.

Do something creative or out of the ordinary. If anyone told me 3 years ago I’d be cement crafting using recycled plastics or writing a blog, I probably would have laughed. I have energy for it though because I take care of myself.  Once you start creativity it usually leads to more, so start small and you never know where it may lead you to!

img_7214  img_7141  image

Hope you enjoy these simple Genbumom tips! We can’t be perfect all of the time, so simply do your best!

What do you do to maintain your health, wellness, and happiness?


2015 Adieu {a few thoughts and memories}

image image image

This was the year I decided to take any excess energy and fight for what is right. To speak up. To find my voice again for causes. To not take “no” or “I don’t care” for an answer from anyone.  This is the year I said goodbye to breastfeeding my children (we are done with having kids).  This is the year I paid off hospital debt and learned how to make a “decent” smoothie.

This is the year I discovered I am confident with my imperfect body and that weight doesn’t matter, but feeling strong and athletic does matter. This is the year my husband made me feel intelligent and worthy. We went to see Alt J in concert. We became more social. We binged watched The Walking Dead. We played video games. We both threw out our backs. We earned a few more grey hairs.

This year my children showed me how to unconditionally love and to seek simplicity. How to live in the moment and experience true joy. How to lose my temper. How to cry from frustration. How to be a semi-super mommy. How to be amazed.

This is the year I went natural, I mean really truly organic and non toxic in my home.

I checked items off my bucket list:  Starting a blog, creating a fairy garden, using power tools, gardening, self teaching html coding basics, and became me again. Not just a wife or a mother or an employee but me, that idealist girl in college that didn’t wear a bra and wrote poetry and believed I could make a difference somehow.  No matter how little. No matter how big. Even if only one person listened. It mattered.

I read Tess D’ubervilles, Siddhartha, Howard’s End, and Vanity Fair. I rediscovered a true respect for Jesus and those that follow him. I lost some respect for those that cannot see past a narrow-minded view of spirituality.  I spoke up for Muslims. I wholeheartedly supported Bernie Sanders. I discovered Lord Huron’s Strange Tales album.

So I leave you with some images from 2015. These are a few of my favorite things.



Gaining, Not Maintaining {Why I Don’t Mind the Extra Few Pounds}


This is why I’m not sweating the extra few pounds this holiday season.

I suppose I went into hibernation mode and just decided this year I would enjoy myself more. My children will only be this age once and I want to soak up everything holiday that I can without guilt. If the below describes you, this holiday enjoyment plan may be for you…

  1. I’m in a healthy weight range, I have no current health problems in regards to heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
  2. I am continuing to work out a few times a week to keep my body healthy and immune system up through the winter cold and flu season.
  3. I have plenty of clothes that fit. The extra few pounds won’t create a need for new clothing purchases.
  4. I know how to lose 5 lbs. I can start this anytime, I want a break for the holidays!
  5. It’s not an excuse to eat processed junk, but it’s a great excuse to relax a little, take some extra time for making holiday crafts and hanging out with my family. So if we stop at a fast food chain after holiday shopping, eh.  We will live.  I have vowed that I will eat all the homemade vegan banana bread that I want.  Yum!
  6. I can heal up some joint related issues that I have from running so much this summer and fall.
  7. I am after all a Semi-Super Mommy. I have enough guilt in my life, (working mom guilt) without feeling poorly about myself for only a few extra pounds. It’s an unacceptable guilt.   There is enough entropy in life without that type of guilt.
  8. I will determine a goal date to ramp up my exercise starting soon, maybe within the next month.

I’m only up 2 or 3 lbs. and I’ve been relaxing (relaxing, not slacking- okay I’m slacking) the last month or so.  I have had a bit of an energy slump to be honest. I can definitely tell when I’m not at peak physical performance.  The few days I work out, I do truly feel better for it. It’s simply harder to motivate and I forgive myself for that.  It’s the holiday season and I love it.

This is a season for baking and making. For cuddling up. For watching Rudolf and The Grinch on repeat. For cozying up with a warm cup of Chai tea with sugary creamer,  a blanket  and a copy of Wuthering Heights.

Judge Me all You Want

Judge me all you want, I’m happy about this decision.  I wouldn’t recommend this approach to someone who is in the process of weight loss. I don’t wish to inspire a derailing of your goals. For some though, this is a viable option as long as you do it right. Stay active. Eat for hunger. Keep up on your fruits and veggies.

I’ve been taking the stairs more at work (4 double flights) and fitting in some planks at night, although my kids think I am “mommy bridge” and start crawling underneath me.  For an almost 35 year old , I’m extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished physically since having two children.

I am 25 lbs. lighter (fitter) than I was on my wedding day. I’m proud of every C-section scar on my body and every inch of muscle that I’ve worked to develop.  I eat healthy and organic based food as much as possible.  I am a proponent on the importance of sleep.  I do things to reduce stress (aromatherapy, exercise, forgiving myself for my imperfections, reading books, a beer or two with the hubs on a Friday night so we can “pretend” we are still “fun” people).

So that is why I’m not worried about those extra few pounds over the next month. Okay, cookies will transcend into muffin top and that extra bulge, well,  I know it’s coming soon…that sugar won’t do anything for my knee inflammation either.


On that note, I have a workout to fit in on my lunch break.  I’m going to feel great afterwards, accomplished, and fierce. If I want some tasty home-style ranch dressing on my organic greens and spinach salad tonight, I just may drizzle some. That healthier vinaigrette option will still be there in February.

I had some of those cookies picture above today. I *may* have had 3 of them. Judge me, please. They were delicious.  In my defense, I also ate oatmeal for breakfast, lemon water, vegetarian meatloaf, a salad, raspberries and a slice of French bread for lunch, and a banana for a snack. I’ll look like this again in March.