The Transition

For those of you that don’t know me I am a career woman and a stay at home mom.  I work four months out of the year and get paid year around.  I know.  I know.  Shut up about it.  Its a nice gig, I am certainly not complaining.  At this time in my life it is the transition back into work mode.  I manage the distribution for a very large live cut Christmas Tree company.  Its a niche job that I absolutely love.  Its fast-paced.  Its a puzzle.  Its crazy busy.  We ship 750,000 trees in just over 21 days.  I staff my office mostly with my friends.  Another crazy thing I do.  Its had its advantages and disadvantages, but overall it works for me.  When I am working 15 hour a day seven days a week and can not see my family, I still like to have those close to me to keep me going.  Not only that, but I truly have some brilliant friends.

So I am transitioning myself and my family into “mommy gone” mode.  Cleaning house, stocking freezer with home cooked meals, and lots of quality time (hence my absence to the blogosphere).   As my kids get older its so much harder to transition into “career woman”.  I feel like I am missing so much when I am gone.  My almost 5 year old is really thriving in school and her personality is utterly amazing.  In the last two weeks I have witnessed some awesome independent, courageous, growing up characteristics.  She has taken the initiative to help around the house without being asked.  She has conquered the monkey bars at the park after numerous falls on her behind.  She has utilized the word “whatever”, in a somewhat joking manner.  She is beautiful.  My 18 month old son has started attaching himself to my husband.  This is great for the way our family has to operate for the next few months, but still makes me a little bit sad.  He called me Daddy today to many times, but than kept referring to my husband as Mike (secretly, that made me feel good 🙂 ).

Not only are my children transitioning, but my husband is as well.  He is gearing up to be the all-in-one man!  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man that I feel comfortable leaving the kids and house with while I am temporarily out of commission.  It seriously does not fall apart.  Kids taken care of, laundry done, meals cooked, and he still manages to pick me up when I am exhausted.  Amazing!

Which brings me to our excursion last weekend.  Every September we escape to a B&B for alone time and reconnection before I go to work.  This year we went to to the Boyden House in Grand Haven, Michigan.  AMAZING!  We stayed in the Caberet Room.  It was decorated in chocolate browns, leather furniture, antiques, and a double jacuzzi tub.  The B&B’s breakfast was out of this world.  Not just some easy continental type breakfast thrown together, but really great healthy food.  The people were friendly and it was super clean.  Please try and visit it if you are in need of a reconnection or recharge of romance.  We also had an awesome dinner at The Bilmar.  Hands down the best chicken dish I have ever tasted anywhere.  The atmosphere was very inviting and the sunset was beautiful.   Perfect weekend!

I guess the lessons to learn from my transition at the moment is to honestly take life one day at a time.  Conquer the day.  Make the most of every day.  Laugh a lot.  Treasure each moment.  With that being said I am going to take a vacation from my regular posts of Wellness Wednesday and Green Friday.  I will keep it random and continue to utilize this little blog o’ mine as my outlet.  Writing is such a great release and who knows who you might connect with on a woman level, mother level, wife level, or friend level.  Enjoy the Fall weekend and please visit Grand Haven in the near future!

She’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Hello everyone (my two faithful readers)!  I was on a small camping, traveling, start school and work hiatus.  Tons of fun, tons of things to write about and of course lots of laughter.  Life gets so busy without even noticing.  Seriously, September is half done.  What the hell?

So for my return to the blogosphere, I have something actually quite deep for you all to ponder.  Last week I was driving and nearly took out two mailboxes, a kid’s lemonade stand, and a fire hydrant (ok maybe that’s a little bit exaggerated, but could have been) trying to avoid a squirrel.  What is it that is so embedded in most of us that we have to almost become a stunt car driver to avoid hitting a squirrel?

I found this rather interesting.  I know that there are people out there that are like “What the hell is she talking about?”, but I would like to think that most of us at least grip the steering wheel tighter and gasp or in my case zig zag all over the frickin street.  Whats so interesting in me is that the value of life, even of a squirrel, must be deeply embedded in my brain.  I am pretty sure my parents never had the “Don’t run over Squirrels” talk with me, so it must be natural.  It kind of made me feel good that this was my instinct.  I could be a bit more careful, but there is no way I could have bulldozed that tiny dumb as rocks animal over.  I know I value my life, but now I know that I truly value LIFE.

I know.  I know.  It was a frickin squirrel, but stop and think about it for a moment.  I feel like this instance can really tell you things about another human being.  So if you are in the car with a friend and she plows over a squirrel or hedgehog without a single movement, like it was a Slurpee cup-you might wanna think twice about her watching your kids.

These are the random deep thoughts that go through my head that I don’t get to share very often, but now that I have a captive audience-I hope you are as amused I am.

Wellness Wednesday-The Vacation Binge

I have been away from home since Saturday and I am still away from home.  We have been treating our bodies like dumpsters!  Fast food, no water, little exercise, and no accountability are just a few things happening on this super fun family vacation.  I know its ok to take a break and indulge a bit, but this isn’t indulging its shoveling food in our mouths without thinking.

What I am learning from this is that I am finally on the right path.  I feel guilty.  I miss my gym.  I miss my controlled area called home.  I know its ok to take a break, but I feel like I don’t want too.  I have been feeling phenomenal.  But I will take the way I feel right now and use that to catapult myself into a refreshed beginning or continuous journey of healthiness. 

So my Wellness Wednesday tip is that if you lose focus, you better find it right quick.  If you don’t find that focus, you can find yourself taking numerous steps in the wrong direction.  Its ok to indulge like they say, but now use a shovel to do so.  So no more Dots, white Cheddar popcorn or EMPANADAS for me!

Green Friday-Local Farmer’s Market

So I have just grasped the idea of spending a little more money at the Farmer’s Market to support local commerce.  Besides that very important issue, I have fallen in love with the Fulton Heights Farmer’s Market.  This is a Farmer’s Market here in West Michigan.  For more Farmer’s Markets in West Michigan look here.  If you do not live in West Michigan I found an excellent website to search for organic food sites and farmer’s markets here.

A friend of mind has been trying to talk me into going for awhile.  I just kept grumbling at how I can get it cheaper somewhere else.  Well, here is the thing,  the extra money spent is worth the quality you receive.  Every blueberry is huge and juicy.  The peaches are to die for.  The sweet corn-well forget about it.  There are bread stands with yummy pizza crusts and sweet breads.  I love it!  Most is organic and it helps local farmer’s.

So today I got 5 pounds of blueberries, a lot of peaches, and 3 pounds of green beans.  My daughter and I started the preparation of freezing.  I put her on bean snapping and set out to wash and rinse berries and peaches.  The berries you wash and put on a cookie sheet to freeze.  Easy!  The peaches you have to wash and cut up.  From another friend, I learned to just wash the peaches, cut them, bag them and add 1/8 cup of sugar.  So after my daughter finished with the beans, my daughter helped with the peaches.  About 3/4 of the way through I realized she was biting off each slice of peach before putting them in the bag.  Won’t that be a pleasant surprise all winter long.

So before Farmer’s Market season is over, I challenge you to visit some in your area.  Support the local farmer’s.  Freeze fresh produce for winter.  Enjoy the process like my family!

Wellness Wednesday- We Must, We Must—–Improve Our Posture

Side note, I have to say I think that “Are you There God Its Me Margaret” is one of the most memorable pre-teen books I ever read. If you haven’t read it, you won’t get my clearly clever blog title today. Back to business, posture. So now that I have been doing Pilates for a continuous four months at least once a week I realize that my posture is atrocious!

I could do several blog posts on this topic, because it affects so much with our bodies. You can read about the basics here. The following is clearly my own observations and are my own suggestions. I am the worst slouchy, hunched shoulders person I have ever met. My pilates instructor did a posture test. So stand up from the computer and do the following:

-Stand up

-Put your arms straight out

-Point your thumbs up to the ceiling/sky/heavens

-Than in one motion turn your whole arm and point your thumbs to the floor/ground/hell (whatever floats your boat).

-Lower your arms to your side

This is the proper(ish) position for your shoulders. It is amazing how we walk around with our shoulders hoisted towards our ears. Than if you take that position and add it to your walk and your seated position, you have such better alignment. Try incorporating that simple exercise a few times a day and it will truly make a difference in tension, posture, and possibly even headaches. Remember these are my own personal findings, I am no doctor. These are just the things that make me feel good.

WOW! WOW! How About That Opening Ceremony?

I will be the first to admit that I have never really been interested in the Olympics.  But for some reason my dedication to this years Summer Olympics in Beijing is large.  I was trying to explain to my daughter what the Olympics were and realized I was not doing a very good job.  Therefore, its time to grow up and pay attention to my surroundings.  One of my biggest faults in life is seeing, dealing with, learning only the things that directly affect me or my family.  Hence, my non-political self.  I don’t read the newspaper and I only read trashy magazines.  Guess what?  Time for change in that department.  If I want well-rounded children, I need to be a well-rounded woman!  Just because I do not enjoy something, does not mean my children should not be exposed to it.

Reagan and I sat down this evening to watch the opening ceremony to the Olympics together ( everything before the parade of countries-that was/is a bit long).  We were both amazed at the performances.  It was some of the most mind-blowing, artistic, amazing, athletic art I have ever seen.  From the drum performance, to the artwork being drawn by dancers, to the people running around the globe.  I was in awe.  All the symbolism and all the time and dedication that was put into those performances was truly amazing.

I thought it was great to see heads of countries there to actually support (or at least be seen) their countries.  Remember I am strictly basics when it comes to politics, but to me that stood out.  So my daughter and I will watch some events this week and occasionally chime in on our experiences.  Both of us are watching for the first time and experiencing this together.  I look forward to this experience with her and I am sure she will have some things to say about it as well.  Go here for a very easy schedule, update, or  Olympic reference.  This is what I will be using to keep updated.  There are tons of websites and blogs out there.  Once every four years is all we get.  Take a moment this week and support your country as we compete against the best of the best.  Enjoy!

Green Friday-Reusable Wash Rags

In my efforts to become a better steward to the Earth, I am making great changes within my house.  These changes are coming slowly but surely, but they are coming.  I have 99% eliminated paper plates.  You can read about that here.  Next on the check list has been a really really hard one-paper towel.

On my quest to eliminate paper towel we have successfully eliminated those tubs of chemically treated wipes.  That was easy!  But that also increased our usage of paper towel.  So I really had to stop and think about what I was doing.  Seriously, with two smaller children there is a lot to clean up , disinfect, and wipe up.  A side note to that statement, I am a little bit of a germ freak.  Not excessive, but just certain things.  For instance, until recent months I would never use a bath towel more than once.  It was used.  I know! I know!  It wiped off my clean body.  I have heard it all before.  Another one-wash clothes disgust me (almost as much as connected hot dogs-that one is for you Big Binder 🙂 ).  But in order to be better to the environment and instill these practices within my children, I am learning to overcome my ISSUES.

Enter-reusable wash rags.  I have a set for the bathroom and a set for the kitchen and a miscellaneous set.  I use them to wash their designated room and in the wash they go.  Who knew it could be that easy.  I also purchased about 20 washcloths at the dollar store in packs of four for daily use.  These are the clothes that I use on counter tops, tables, sticky hands, and at the end of the day in the wash it goes.  Small, small changes is the key to making the transition easier.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still purchase papertowel.  But I went from buying it by the case at Sam’s club once every other month, to 2 rolls a month.  Huge reduction!

I don’t have any fancy dancy statistics on the average household use of paper towel or how long it takes to break down, but I do know that less paper towel waste is better all around.  So even though paper towel can not be infiltrated with sandpaper, bricks, or a 10 pound weight-reusable rags are the way to go.  Try it!