Monday, July 14, 2014

Morning Walks...

One of my most favorite parts of our summer days this year has been my morning dog walks. I started out just walking with Ozzie at the start of summer. He is, after all, a big bundle of energy who becomes a much better listener after a morning stroll.

 We've never really walked our other 2 dogs on a regular basis and for the most part they've been okay with that. Our poor old buddy Jasper's body is starting to fail him in his advanced age (15+) and at this point can hardly handle walking around the yard during outdoor potty breaks. I'm quite afraid that by summer's end we probably need to make the tough decision to say our final goodbye to Jasper. He still gets excited when we talk to him. He still likes to gently play with the other dogs. That being said, it's very obvious how uncomfortable he is when life requires him to move from the spot where he's currently planted. It's so hard to know when it's the "right" time, before we've waited too long and he's suffering. It will be one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, not only because I will miss him, but because of 2 little girls who love him to pieces.

The reason Tilde has never been walked regularly can be explained by one fact: we've been lazy over the years and she's not big enough for her extra energy to be much of annoyance. I'll admit it, that's the only reason. As the summer has gone on, I've felt a little guilty about showing Ozzie special treatment through our daily walks. Besides having lots of neurotic energy that could use a healthy outlet, Tilde could use to drop a little extra weight since she eats her feelings.  A couple weeks ago I decided to see if I could walk both Oz and Tilde at the same time. Tilde has no leash manners, again, our own fault for not spending more time working with her over the past 6 years, but she's small and manageable when she's wearing her harness. Ozzie is a pro-walker and easily managed when he's wearing his head collar. So I harnessed them both up, clipped on leashes, and out the door we headed. We made it a full 3 miles that first day, and 2-3 miles most days of the week since.

The amount of happy whining and tail wagging that occurs each morning after I pick up the harnesses and my tennis shoes makes me smile. After some initial excitement for the first few blocks, we settle into a very organized walking arrangement and have a great time stretching all 10 of our legs. We get lots of smiles and good mornings from people we pass on our way. (Way more than when it was just Ozzie and I walking alone.) Best of all, the rest of the day at our house is so much calmer with exercised pooches. (And an exercised mom.)

I will miss having plenty of time to work in our daily hour pounding the pavement once the girls and I head back to school, but I will do my best to work it into our crazy school year schedule for happier dogs AND a happier me.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Closet Issues...

I do not own a scale.

Never have.

Probably never will.

It's probably been well over a year since I have stepped on a scale. It's just never a good experience so it's not one I make a point to search out.

One morning, while visiting Western Nebraska at the end of June, my mom was talking about her joyful surprise over the result of her morning weigh in. Feeling good about the amount of walking I've been doing this summer, and the resulting increased comfort of the waistbands of many of my pants, I decided to step on her scale for a quick check. My heart sunk as I looked down at the little digital numbers that popped up on the display.

204.7 lbs.

My weight has only tipped into the 200s three other times during my life. Two of those times I was pregnant. I knew I had packed on a few extra pounds over the course of the past year, feeling less comfortable in many of my favorite clothes as the school year drew to a close, but seeing just how many was, honestly, shocking. I can't say for certain what was more depressing as I stood there staring down at my current weight: seeing the reality of just how much I had gained OR knowing how hard I would have to work to drop that number to one I'd rather see on the display.

I've struggled with holding a positive self image for a long, LONG time. I've rarely appreciated my body for what it has/can do, always focusing on all the ways it's less than ideal. I've blamed my body for a lot of negative situations/outcomes in my life. A failed fitness/yoga based business. A lack of physical intimacy in my marriage over the past year. The feeling of not quite fitting in with my cycling/yoga/coaching acquaintances. I blame a lot on my body.

My struggle is not unique. I know I'm not alone in dealing with body insecurity. I also know I'm not alone in hoping I can work to change my relationship with my body in a way that in turn helps my daughters to grow up and go into the world more confident and loving of their own beings. I'm am inspired by the number of ladies out there sharing their own stories of body image struggles on the interwebs, and the movement that is building among women who are increasingly refusing to allow our completely out-of-whack societal views of what a happy/sexy/worthy woman "should" look like to keep them from living a complete, engaging, satisfying and happy life.

Once upon a time, when I was teaching fitness/yoga classes for a living, I regularly wore a size 12. Size 12 is the smallest size I've ever worn in my post high school athlete years. It's my feel-better-about-my-body size. It's my comfortable in a bikini size. It's my I-look-damn-hot-in-this dress-and-high-heels size. It's also a body size that's practically impossible for me to maintain without HOURS of time most days of the week to devote to fitness and a close, close eye on what goes in my mouth. As much as I would like to return to that size of body, I just don't have the drive/energy/time available to devote to that venture at this point in my life. I will continue walking (almost) daily with my dogs because it does us all good, physically and mentally, to get out and move and breath some fresh air. I will continue to find time to practice yoga asanas because it helps me move with more comfort and grace. I will continue to search out ways to keep my body strong, because I like to do things, like yard work and building with my growing collection of power tools, that require strength.

There's nothing as frustrating, when you're already feeling down about your body, as heading to your closet to get dressed in the morning and not being able to come even close to buttoning the pants you'd like to wear. Knowing there's no realistic reason I'd suddenly have the time/energy/desire to drop the 30+ pounds required to fit into all those clothes I've been keeping in my closet for "some day", I'd decided that my closet needed a bit of purging. So today I created this pile of extra hangers clearing out what no longer fit...

(The fact that my closet rod suddenly decided to start bowing abnormally low last week, helped to move this little task to the top of the do-to list since I had removed everything to fix the sag.)

I expected this little exercise in purging to feel good. Empowering. Freeing. In reality I sat looking at the pile that I had created and cried. I cried and texted my husband.
 "Fixed the closet rod. Went through my clothes. Sitting here looking through tears at the stack of things I've gotten too fat to wear. I know it's silly, but it still disappoints me that I can't seem to keep this body as healthy and trim as I would like."
My favorite cargo capris. The sexy red strapless dress that I bought for that wedding that I wore with white high heeled wedges. Those cute cropped summer jeans. All headed to someone else's closet. I felt defeated.

I still feel a bit that way here at day's end. I still need to deal with getting the pile out of the house.

Obviously I still have some issues to work through over the contents of my closet...and those numbers that currently show up on the scale. I guess one should not expect one closet cleaning to heal years, and years of negative self talk.

A work in progress I am.


Monday, June 30, 2014


Much of my June, the days I have spent in Iowa that is, have been spent in the yard. Building. Digging. Planting.

The past few weeks the Midwest has been getting A LOT of rain. We are fortunate, thus far, to have had only rain. So many others have had to deal with damaging winds, tornadoes, and flooding. We are just wet...which means all those seeds and little plants I planted earlier this month are happy, happy, happy!

Pretties. Herbies. Veggies. I'm especially excited that I can say I have a few veggies in the yard again thanks to the cedar plank raised beds we built to solve the problem of buried concrete we found while initially digging up the garden space.

Storms are building up to drop even more rain on us this afternoon. This week, as we prep for our annual 4th of July parade watching brunch fun, the girls and I will be tackling some indoor sort and clean tasks that have been on my mental "to do before summer ends" list. Without rainy days, I'm not sure we'd ever get those things accomplished since I'm mostly solar powered and spend as much time as possible in the summer outside recharging. I'm already looking forward to next week, after the ground has a chance to dry out a bit to resume digging. There's decorative grass that needs to be purchased and planted, hostas that need moved, and 2 lavender bushes that managed to survive our extremely cold winter (unlike the 2 others who didn't make it) that need to find a new home in a yet to be determined location of the yard.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm Back...

I feel the need to return to writing.

Summer is a good time to get back into the habit of blogging on a somewhat regular schedule.

Without a schedule of yoga classes to teach, and a small business to run, I'm feeling the need to have something creative, something that allows me to express my interests/thoughts as we wade through this busy time in our family's life. I'm looking forward to returning to a place that allows me to share with others, and our future selves, our lives.





It feels good to be back...

~ peace ~

Monday, March 17, 2014

Parenting in the Digital Age...

Several times through the last few years I've made comment that I wish I could turn back time so that I could parent in a time BEFORE digital access and devices were a part of everyday life. Parenting is hard on it's own. Trying to figure out how to help your kids safely and successfully navigate all that comes with online social media, texting, photo sharing, and access to just about anything on the inter-webs, feel impossible at times.

Scott and I have approached our girls' exposure to all things digital pretty conservatively over the years. We're online, obviously, and as the generation who welcomed this form of connection and communication into our lives in early adulthood, I often feel like we are still trying to figure out a good balance ourselves. We've allowed our girls access, but with some control and restrictions. Much to her dismay, our 12 year old does not have her own cell phone. Even though she used her own monies to purchase an iPod touch at the holidays, she understands ultimately we have the final say on what accounts she can set up and when she's expected to set her device aside and unplug.

Privacy. Safety. A clean digital footprint. Learning to balance the need for unplugged activities in a time when everyone, everywhere seems to always be connected. All reasons we've tried to come up with some reasonable restrictions. Admittedly, there's always been a little bit of fear of what bad COULD happen that has, at least on my part, guided those decisions. As a mom, protecting my girls with the force of a mother bear comes naturally. Letting them venture out to learn by trial and error on their own is a little harder to practice. I've sometimes forgotten that much awesomeness is also possible when you allow kids to connect and share in the ways of their generation.

This weekend, to kick off our 10 day spring break, the girls and I took a quick trip to Omaha to meet up with a good friend of mine from college, and her daughters, who we've not seen in about 5 years. (Which is ridiculous, quite honestly.) We spent an afternoon in the warmth of the jungle, aquarium, and desert at the zoo. The girls swam at the hotel while Sara and I talked, and talked, and talked. We'd probably still be talking if it weren't for the fact our time to be together simply ran out. It was fantastic. Saturday afternoon, after Sara and her girls headed west, the girls and I decided to stop at Joslyn Art Museum before we headed back east. We'd not been to Joslyn before, but so much enjoyed our visit to Nelson-Atkins in KC a few summers ago that we were pretty sure we'd enjoy Joslyn too.

Coincidentally, another college friend of mine, Jen, and her daughters, who we do get together with often, also spent some time in Omaha over the weekend to celebrate their spring break. We didn't get together with them on this trip. Our oldest girls, who have gone to summer camp together for the past 4 years, have started texting regularly since they both have iDevices. It was as we were walking through Joslyn that Lexi shared that Maddie had been to Joslyn that weekend too, and had shared some of the photos of her favorite pieces of art with her through an iCloud album. As we walked around Lexi was keeping an eye out for those pieces, and snapping pics of the pieces she was drawn to to share in return. Throughout the weekend those photos have been shared and commented on, not only between Lexi and Maddie, but their other friends as well. No matter how you look at it, it's 12 year old girls interacting with, and over, fine art, and I happen to think it's pretty cool.

Am I still freaked out and frustrated by all that comes with navigating parenting in the digital age? Oh hell yes! Having been involved in discussions about this very subject both as a parent, and as extension of my work at the school, I can say there are lots of opinions and no clear answers on how to keep moving forward. That being said, I'm starting to relax a bit knowing that with all the bad that COULD happen, a lot of good DOES happen when kids connect online.

~ peace ~