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I have been a mom for just shy of six years now. By just shy, I mean six years ago today I started going into labor. Tomorrow will officially be six years. I have learned, grown, changed, and loved a lot in these last years. These are some of the things six years of motherhood has taught me.

That I want my children to grow up in a world that values love, kindness, equality, social justice, empathy, and generosity. It can feel like an uphill battle some days. When everything around you seems filled with ugliness and hate. That doesn’t mean that I will stop wanting them to live in that kind of world. I will always strive and fight to shape that kind of world for them. I will send them out into the world with those values, hoping they too will be agents of them. 

Perfectionism is a nuisance. You cannot control everything at every moment. Life and children are unpredictable and sometimes you have to let more shit go than you care to. I cleaned up the whole kitchen and living room on Wednesday. Spotless! By that evening they had scattered toys all over the kitchen floor. They are still there. I sighed as I walked by them to start writing this. At some point I will get to it, but I am sure when I turn back around, they will have recreated the same mess. You have to let it go. 

Humility. You are not above wiping a poop covered butt (and even back, cause that shit, haha, can and does get everywhere) You will find yourself in the middle of situations you never thought you would be in. Being urinated on. Catching vomit in your hands. Getting poop under your fingernail. Changing a diaper in the trunk of your SUV in the parking lot of a pumpkin farm. Wiping up a half spilled grande pike roast from the floor of Whole Foods that your two year old knocked over when he moved your cart as you were trying to pick up the box of his minecraft figurines he dropped everywhere. So now you have minecraft toys, a box, and a giant puddle of steaming hot coffee all over the grocery store floor. These things happen on the regular. Stay humble folks, there is no prize for being prideful. You will be wiping up floor coffee in public. Or your own version of that scenario. 

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Generosity. Be as generous as you humanly can. With your love and praise for your tiny humans. With your family. With your neighbors. With complete strangers. I have seen it pay off in these last 6 years. My almost 6 year old has started random acts of kindness. He has asked me why I buy coffee for the car behind me. Why I roll down my window and hand cash to the homeless man with the sign on the street. I explain why in detail. This week at school he brought his Pokecards. Some friends didn’t have any and wanted them. He was planning on trading with another kid. He did. Then he gave out cards to his friends that did not have any. Just because he wanted to, because they wanted some cards too. He received nothing in return. Save for my adoration and praise when he told me the story.

Selflessness. You have to give so much of yourself when you are a parent. At least you are supposed to. We all do things differently. I give a lot. It can be exhausting, but then I think about how if I did things differently. If I wasn’t around to give them 200% of myself and then another piece just to be nice. I would not feel right. I want to be around and be the face in their memories when they look back at their childhood. When it all clicks about the magical times, the birthdays, the random normal days, the dinners, the laundry, the hugs, the books, the kisses, the songs, the errands, the treats, the love. You learn to put other people ahead of yourself. Which can be a hard thing to learn to do.

On that note, you also need to take care of yourself. Self-care is crucial. A trip to D.C. to march for yourself and fellow humans. A epsom salt bath. And yes, lock the damn bathroom door. Pilates in the morning. Putting them to bed a half hour early because they are bat-shit crazy that night. Ordering dinner, even though you have things to cook, they wore you out and you just don’t feel like cooking that night. Order that pizza, and bask in the glory of little to no cleanup. Self-care can be huge things, like 4 day trips, or they can be tiny little minutes throughout the day, locking yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes. It comes in all shapes and sizes.

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Love. True unconditional heart growing mind blowing all consuming love. It is a love like I have never experienced. Sometimes I watch their faces and I literally feel like my heart might explode with joy. Sometimes I still look at them and think “they are mine! How is that possible? How did I create these two super cool humans?” It still takes my breath away, that I get to have these two dudes in my life. I am not sure I will ever quite get over that. It is amazing.

The value of words. We talk through things a lot here. Taking time to use your words to explain things to your children will really strengthen their understanding of life. Even if you don’t feel it is sinking in in the moment. They absorb these life lessons and they take them out into the world. I tell my boys “everyone is different.” When they have questions about why someone does something differently than we do. I always explain it as best as I can, then sum it up with “that is ok because everyone is different.” When the oldest was four, some kids at school hassled him because he doesn’t like ketchup and wouldn’t eat it. He got frustrated and finally told me that he said “I don’t like it and that is ok, because everyone is different.” Words matter. Words sink in. Talking through things sinks in. They are very intelligent.

To say sorry. I am a firm believer in apologizing to them. Sometimes moms lose their shit. We do. If you say you don’t, you’re lying, sorry. It comes in different forms for each person, but we all get pushed too far sometimes. If I feel guilty that I snapped on them or was short, or yelled over something totally stupid, I will go and talk to them and say I am sorry. This is not every time they get in trouble. Sometimes they do naughty things and they have to be reprimanded. But I can feel it in my heart when I know it was more me than them. Then I do go say sorry. The oldest and I can have real conversations about human emotions at this point, and we do. We talk through it. The little one, a hug with kisses and saying “mommy loves you I am sorry” will suffice at this point.

It is ok to talk to children as if they are humans with thought processes and feelings. I try not to baby things down for them too much. I explain things to them. I am not a huge baby talk person. I have always interacted with them as the red blooded people they are. I think this has shaped them for the better. I can see it in the oldest. He has a grasp on reality. The things he can discuss blow me away sometimes. I encourage him to think through his thought process. I can explain something and then ask him what he thinks/feels/wants from that situation. I have explained to him what is happening if I think he feels anxious. I explained homelessness to him. We have had conversations about dissent. We talk about body autonomy and consent. They know the actual names of genitals. My motto is if I keep that conversation going and trust them with actual knowledge that it will pay off down the road as life gets messier.

Sometimes we cannot do it all. We just can’t. It’s a fact. We want to. We feel we need to. This leads to being burnt out. I know, I have been there. Sometimes you have to take a step back and delete some shit from your life and schedule. Sometimes you have to say no we are not going to do that. Today we are going to be lazy and relax and enjoy one another. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to just be. As a family. I am still working on this. I am not great at taking things off of my plate. It is a work in progress.

Children love their mother so much. Sometimes I can feel their love radiating off of their little bodies. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes moms just need no one to touch them for, maybe, 2 minutes. That would be nice. Then you hear their little tiny human voices saying “mommy” and they just want to nuzzle in and you realize how very loved you actually are.

My favorite most calming thing in the world is when either boy hugs me and snuggles in to the right side of my neck. I call that “the good stuff” and love when they hug me tight, their little cheek against my neck. That is my calm. That is my heart. That is my motherhood.

I am not a perfect mom. I feel like I am failing a lot. I am hard on myself. I always think I can do better (I should reread that perfectionism paragraph, huh?) I am just being honest here. I do know that I have grown so much since having children. I have become a better person and woman because of them. They have shown me where my heart actually resides. They have made me cry. They have made me laugh. They have made me angry. They have made me insanely happy. They have made me stronger. I am thankful for these last six years. I feel lucky that I get to take this journey with them. Even as I shouted to my husband last night “You are getting a vasectomy!!! I do NOT want a third baby, they are crazy right now!” Yes, they were being insane. Fighting over Mario toys, tears and yelling, all as I was trying to make their dinner plates. No one could eat until the fight was resolved. It was ridiculous. It was so loud. It was frustrating. It was all mine. My crazy, loving, obnoxious, kind, silly, frustrating, kind, hilarious, adoring, and imperfectly perfect family.

I am looking forward to where the next six years of this journey takes me. Thank you boys. Thank you Jackson for making me a mommy. Happy start of labor day my sweet boy.

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It has been six days since my boots marched on D.C. streets. I feel like it was just yesterday. This week went by quickly as I was getting back into the routine around here, planning a move, cuddling with a toddler who seems to be needing to make up for lost time, and every other normal task I tackle daily. Realizing that it has been almost a week and the dust is settling felt a bit surreal this morning.

I wrote about my experience during the entire trip. I want to touch on why I marched. Why I will continue to march. I touched base on this via my instagram a month ago. I then tagged it properly and much to my utter astonishment, the Women’s March shared the post! I shared it knowing they asked for our reasons. I shared it not ever thinking it would be shared by them. Ultimately, I shared it because I am involved and want to stay vocal and active.

Why did I march? I will start with my opening point on the post. I march because I am a mom of two boys. Two little boys who will leave my home one day knowing that women are strong, equal, intelligent, capable, and worthy of respect. I refuse to put two more men into the world who treat women and other humans poorly. I will fight tooth and nail to help them be open hearted, tolerant, kind, respectful, and open-minded men.

I encourage them to dress and play with whatever they want. They love Shopkins and Minecraft. You can walk through my home and hear me saying “There is no such thing as boy toys and girl toys, there are just toys.” I let them grab items from the girls clothing department if they see a shirt or something they like. They will check out every aisle in the toy section, there is no invisible border for them between the clearly divided sections.

I repeatedly explain that “everyone is different.” My oldest has carried that with him into the world. As they grown they begin to encounter people who are not raised as they have been. Kids have given him a hard time that sometimes his water bottles do not have boy things on them. He replies “there are no girl or boy things. Everyone is different.” I asked him many times if it is bothersome to him when comments are made, and he always says no. I reassure him to be himself and I use blue water bottles, I use pink water bottles. Who cares what the bottle looks like, we just want the water! One time kids were harassing him to try ketchup, which he hates, and finally he told them (at the age of 4) “I don’t like it and that is ok because everyone is different!”

I marched because I have a responsibility to help shape the next generation of men. I only have two of them to guide and love, but two people can make a difference. Two boys can go out there and be helpers not harmers. I will end rape culture within my home. Boys will not be boys. Boys will be kind humans and do good works. I will do my best for them to see a strong woman with a loud and active voice. I will do my best for them to know that women can do anything they want, that men aren’t inherently better at certain things than women. I marched so that when they look at me and ask “Mommy what did you do to stop Trump? What did YOU do during this period in our history?” I can look them in the eye and say, “I fought with all my heart. I marched. I tried to be a voice that championed love, equality, kindness, respect, openness, and strength.”

I marched a woman who has experienced sexual assault. I marched because there is a man in the White House who openly admitted to grabbing women by the pussy, and yet a sickening number of white women still voted for him. Maybe they have never had their pussies violated. I don’t know their story. Everyone is different. But my story? That includes a sexual assault that left me blacked out before waking up in a hospital scared, alone, and not knowing where I was. When you talk about trigger warnings, he is one giant trigger warning for people who have been violated sexually. The most respected office in the country is filled by a man that flippantly discusses sexual assault and then is not in the least bit remorseful. In fact, he just attacks any of the women who then came forward to talk about their experience with his tiny grabby hands. I marched for myself, for the other women who have told me their rape stories, for women who may not have told me their stories, for women who haven’t been assault and for their right to not have someone violate them, and for women who unfortunately may be assaulted in the future. I marched for all of us in an attempt to change the narrative about rape. To shift the focus on the attacker and not the victim. It took me 13 years to come forward and open up entirely about this. Women shouldn’t be afraid. We shouldn’t have to walk to our car with keys in our hands. We shouldn’t be thinking “dont’ get raped.” The world should be shouting “Don’t fucking rape people! (or grab them by the pussy)” I marched because that is just one instance of sexual violation in my 31 years on this planet. There are many other smaller stories I have gone though. I am not alone in that. That is why I marched.

I marched because I am aware as a white woman with a comfortable income, that my experience may be uniquely different than my other sisters out there. That intersectional feminism is the only way we will move forward together. I recognize the privilege I have based on my skin color, sexual orientation, economic status, and life experience. I respect the fact that not every woman experiences sexism and injustice in the same way. There are layers to each person’s life experience and things are not so clear cut. I marched because I want to listen, learn, support, and engage in meaningful educational moments from women that are different from me.

I marched with my mom. I marched with her because I have seen a fire lit in her during this election. It has given me a push forward on my strong opinions. I marched with her because she has always told me I can do whatever I want to do. I marched with her because she is responsible for the eventual family motto I coined “everyone is different.” She instilled that in me growing up. I marched with her because marching with your mom is so incredibly empowering. I was not aware of how empowering that would feel. To stand arm in arm with the woman who birthed you. I was in the position of the child asking my mom “What did you do to resist this?” Her answer will always be, “I marched. I resisted. I refused to go away quietly.”

I marched for myself, my nieces, my sisters in law, my aunts, my cousins, my friends, the strangers I met along the way, and yes, even the women who are against this movement. I marched for you just in case you ever need a hand to lift you up. I hope not. I hope you can live your life without feeling marginalized, but if something changes, here is my hand, to hold and march with yours. I marched for all people who are aghast at the fact that this is where we are as a nation right now. I marched for our future.

Where do we go from here? There are many ways to stay active. There are more marches coming up. Personally, I will be attending volunteer expo event at the end of February. I have some ideas of where I would like to put my time, but I think the expo will open my eyes to even more choices. Then, I pick a place and I get involved. If you are in Illinois, this is a grass roots organization, Action for a Better Tomorrow . It started out of Pantsuit Nation and grew into its own movement. There are local chapters. I started to get involved in the local one in the ‘burbs where I am now, but we are moving, so I will have to shift focus once we are settled in.

The march is not where it ended. It was the beginning. Keep speaking out, writing, volunteering, calling your representatives, reading and researching, sharing  things on your social media. Do not become complacent now that our boots are back in the closets or shoe racks. Keep those boots dirty. Nasty, if you will.

 

Wrapping up my journey to D.C. with my mom for the Women’s March on Washington is not an easy feat. I am still decompressing and trying to wrap my head around every experience. I will do my best in bringing these experiences to written word.

We arrived late Thursday morning. Which gave us plenty of time to squeeze in some kind of adventure. We decided to head from our hotel in Virginia to D.C. We were able to see D.C. as a ghost town in some regards. Pennsylvania Ave was already blocked off. People could waltz down the street as they pleased, taking in the overwhelming atmosphere. The soon to be half filled bleachers were already set up. Not looking too different than the photos from the parade.

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The chilling feeling when reading this was incredible. I will hold this close to my heart over the next 4 years. 

We walked to the Capitol Building where there were sound checks occurring. I would say there were a mix of people there for two very different reasons. While we may have elicited stares, as our missing attire of support stood out amongst red hats and t-shirts, things were peaceful. I experienced one of the most thrilling and invigorating moments of my life. Climbing atop a railing in front of the Capitol Building, laying down, and flexing myself into a backbend. My mom took one of my now favorite photos. I felt so energized just doing that. One more place around the world where I have done a backbend.

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Seeing how the country sets up for the peaceful transition of power is something everyone should experience. As much as I loathe the current political situation, it is rather encouraging to see democracy in action. Be that, the peaceful transition of power, or women (and men) taking to the streets to exercise their 1st Amendment rights in a peaceful, productive, and supportive manner, it is wonderful to know at its heart, America stands for those tenets.

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Sad faces on Obama’s last night in the White House. We already miss you!

We had dinner in town and when we walked out we found ourselves literally in the middle of another protest. The energy was a bit anxious and agitated. The vibe wasn’t my kind of thing. We accepted some swag from them, but ultimately we moved on. Eventually we made our way back to our hotel. Later we realized that group participated in destructive protest Thursday and Friday. It is important to open your mind to the vibe of situations. Sometimes your intuition will tell you more than your eyes can discern in the moment. This was no different. We did not come to D.C. to destroy or harm. I strongly feel being vigilant yet peaceful is the journey I want to take.

Friday we stayed away from D.C. proper entirely. We made our way to Alexandria. Where George Washington’s very feet walked the ground my feet walked. If you don’t know me well or personally, I have a degree in History and my favorite president is Washington. The town is beautiful. It was lovely to see the Potomac. We encountered one of the most inspirational people I have ever had the privilege of having a random conversation with. A teenage girl who is Muslim. She was there with her school for the inauguration. We chatted for a long while. She explained her experience in America. She was very detailed and open with us. She plans to go into journalism and politics. I will never forget what she articulated to us. You know the old adage that America is a “melting pot”? She has a better description. She described us as a salad. We compliment one another when we are all in that bowl together. Together we are better. Yet we remain our individual selves. My mom and I continued that conversation over dinner that night. I brought up the fact that if you are a piece of spinach and the tomato next to you is moldy, rotten, and bad, that reflects on you. No one wants to eat a moldy tomato salad, even if the spinach is perfect and crisp. We all need to be good and work together for the salad to be delicious.

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Alexandria adventure

I am not sure how often we have vacations that help shape us into a better more enlightened person, but I have experienced such a trip this time around. My eyes are even wider now having listened to so many human’s stories. Humans I would never have encountered otherwise. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to engage them. 

This brings me to the big event. Saturday. The Women’s March on Washington. I have to quote Hamilton at this point, “This is not a moment it’s the movement.” This was not one moment in time, but rather the beginning of an incredible movement. The proof that something was awakened on November 8th is hard to deny.

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Our journey back to D.C. began with a new friend that went on the shuttle to the metro with us. She was making her way down there alone to meet up with a friend and asked to tag along with us so we could help her navigate the metro. Absolutely! At this point we were pros as we used it to go everywhere. From there we met a mother, her son, and his husband. Nate put on thigh high red stiletto boots to march. He said that if we can walk around in heels all of the time, he can for the march. His mother radiated warmth, love, and adoration for her son. His husband had a pair of chucks shoved in his coat pockets just in case Nate changed his mind on his footwear. Unique and open people I would not have crossed paths with otherwise. 

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The train quickly filled up, the energy was palpable. The vibes were happy, empowered, excited, warm, and read to march. Striking up conversations with a person two inches from your face felt as natural as asking your significant other how their day was. Walking off of the train and up to the street came with this pulse of kinetic rays bursting on the scene. Women everywhere. A sea of pink hats. We arrived early in the morning and already we were everywhere. There was no hate. There was no anger. No one was rude. We were all in this bubble of kindness, acceptance, and general patience for one another. We were all there for the same purpose after all. We were there to celebrate and support one another.

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As the rally began you could hear how far the crowds stretched without actually being able to visualize them. You would hear this distant roar that sounded as if it pulsated slowly through the buildings and streets. Then you would hear the crowd around you cheer and clap and shout along. Deafening and empowering simultaneously.

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I feel honored to have been in the presence of such empowering humans. I saw and heard them speak. I was near the stage of the rally. I was moved to tears many times. I was proud to cast my vote for my Senator Tammy Duckworth during the election. My elation at hearing her speak and motivate us at the rally is beyond my descriptive capabilities. I remember shouting to my mom “That’s my girl!!!” Maxine Waters is also an amazing and inspiring woman. Just earlier in the week I had been watching videos and news coverage of her discussing all of this. Then there she was, before my very eyes, speaking to me with her powerful voice. There were so many speakers that moved me in so many different ways. I was brought to near sobbing tears by The Mothers of the Movement. Losing their babies. I was there missing my two sweet boys and they were just a plane ride or FaceTime away. My heart collapsed for what they have gone through. The variety of emotions that flowed through my body is wide. Empathy, empowerment, inspiration, joy, sorrow, anger, fierceness, elation, feeling awake, strength, and on and on.

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The march itself did not begin at the predetermined time. The rally went on and on. And then we finally marched. “Tell me what democracy looks like?” “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!” I truly, with all of my heart, believe in that. Democracy looks like exercising your cherished 1st Amendment right. If that means, writing this blog or literally putting my boots on the ground and yelling until my voice cracks, I will not let anything stop me from enlisting that right.

I have been so stressed since the election. I think so many of us have felt that way. I have shed tears many times. More than just on November 8-9th. I have felt despair and utter disbelief that this is what we are stuck with. I get nauseated when I am reminded of the popular vote totals. I cannot wrap my head around that. I am not sure I ever will. I will say, this march was so refreshing. I felt this release inside of my chest. I was able to take a detoxing deep breath for the first time since November 8th. I slept easily last night. I was ready for bed by 8:30pm. I feel good. I think a lot of us needed this.

I also know it is important to not let this be the end. This was not the stopping point. This was not just one giant therapy session. This needs to be the start of the battle. We need to continue to fight in any capacity we are capable of. This may develop differently for each human on this side of history. That is fine. Maybe you talk to a stranger. Maybe you spread kindness. Maybe you write your congress person. Maybe you call them. Maybe you volunteer. Maybe you run for office. Maybe you find an organization that means something to you and you get involved. This morning I felt that I know the path I want to head down. I know the organization I want to get involved with. We are moving in February, and once we are settled in, I will get the ball rolling.

For me and my experience, this was not about destruction. This was about building up our nation through solidarity with one another. This was about cherishing equality for all persons. This was about lifting your neighbor up when they need a hand. This was about celebrating the uniqueness that lives inside each of us. My mom pointed out that it was really neat how all of the pink hats looked alike yet they were all a little different. Being who I am I said “Like vaginas!’” My mom laughed and said “yeah or like, people.”

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And that is the take away. We are all the same in some regard, yet we are all unique in our own right. Our choices, experiences, relationships, visions, and desires are unique. That is what makes this whole world so wonderful. We should embrace that, celebrate that, and respect that. There would be a lot less hatred in the world if we were less afraid of differences and more open to cherishing the opportunity to bump into one another, for a lifetime, a moment, or a movement.

Today is Wednesday. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I love to participate in Wundachair Wednesday. Who doesn’t absolutely adore ample alliteration? See what I did there?

Today’s video comes to you from my wonderful wundachair. The twist. It is an essential part of my Pilates practice. It just feels so lovely on the whole body. Twisting is especially good for your internal parts. Imagine wringing out your organs, that is what a good twist can help you do. Twisting brings an energy to your workout and follows you throughout your entire day.

My set up is one black spring on the 3rd claw. You can alter your resistance based on your strength and needs. I find this to be the sweet spot of spring loads.

I aimed to keep my hips as level and square as possible for this video. I really focused on twisting from the torso and not from the lower half. Keep the ribs closed and the core engaged. Inhale on the way down and exhale to lift. I think of lifting from my chest. Long beautiful lines. I think imagery is important for this move (as it is for many) You need to keep that mind-body connection. The toes are reaching away and the legs are trying to stay as still as possible (this is a challenge without a teacher holding your feet) Engage the low belly and the obliques.

This is going to work the obliques, very deeply. The shoulders, arms, pecs a bit, lower belly, and even the glutes a bit if they are active while keeping the legs still. The major focus here, though, is the obliques.

Move within your safe range of motion. This is a move where you can over-do it, without even realizing it is about to happen. I would urge you to move with purpose and caution if you have never done this before. Meaning, the twist does not have to be very dramatic the first time and you do not have to go all the way to the floor as you lower the pedal. You must make sure you can get back up! It is awesome to get that pedal all the way down, but now you’re there and cannot get it back to the start, AH what happens then? A fancy ninja backwards roll over/flip into a roll up? Because I cannot pull that off, if you can, please share a video! The focus then should be the movement and strength building. Building blocks to get the pedal as far down as you can press it with a strong and aligned lift back up.

One little note, make sure you are not right next to a wall so when you turn in the opposite direction you don’t have to move your arm in a weird way. My mistake! Ha!

I am planning to create more Pilates posts on my blog. Including….

**Drumroll**

Videos! I have become pretty comfortable with creating Pilates and workout videos over the past year. I really enjoy it, which is the most important thing. I feel it is time to expand them to this blog. I am not one to make New Year resolutions, because I feel that if you truly want to change, you shouldn’t wait for an arbitrary date on a calendar. You should change when you are ready, whenever that moment may arise. Therefore, I wouldn’t call this a resolution but rather a moment in my life where I am feeling ready to focus a bit more on this, hopefully. I have also learned this past year to not set my expectations quite so high because life has a funny way of telling you what’s actually up. That being said, I am excited to share my first video here. This is not a whole class. Rather, one of my go-to mat moves. I will be including reformer and wundachair work as well. You may find yourself watching a video of a workout with my tiny humans, they like to pop in every now and again.

Without further ado, I present……

Matwork: Leg Pull Down

This will work your glutes, hamstrings, core, shoulder stabilizers, serratus anterior, spinal erectors, and pectorals. It is really a total body move, if done properly. An added benefit is the stretch you get in your calves and achilles tendons. Yummy yum yum! Stretching is one of my favorite things in the world.

Now on to the nitty gritty….

You will want to keep proper plank form and alignment. Wrists under shoulders. No sagging bellies or hips. A long line from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes, especially when lifting one leg. Think length as you reach your toes away from your body and rock back and forth. Breathing the entire time. I do tend to recheck my alignment after I bring both feet back on the mat, that is fine. It is good to be aware of what your body is doing at all times. If you need a moment to reposition yourself before transitioning onto the next leg, then take that moment. Relax your shoulders, pull the belly in, make sure your hips are even, etc. You are brining the mind/body connection to your workout.

I finish this with a little upstretch. I lowered my heels for a deeper hamstring and calf stretch. Then, always one to sneak in a pinch of core work, walk my hands back to my feet and have one more nice stretch. Roll up to standing one vertebrae at a time.

 

 

Voila! The first Fit MommaBoom video on this blog. I do post many on Instagram as well, so please follow me there. And be sure to subscribe to this blog for updates in your email!

Until next time…..stay sweaty!

 

Sometimes when I am feeling a little overwhelmed I stop what I am doing and make some kind of apothecary product. It is Monday and I am already at that point this week. If I am being honest, it is just carrying over from last week (I have/had pneumonia) and the weekend. I am on the verge of turning in my first draft of my research paper and well, that is just stressful.

So, when I am feeling like why am I even studying herbal medicine….I definitely cannot do this….no way…I am not smart enough…graduate school with two kids, a home, a husband, volunteering, etc is way too much….how will I get everything done….I should NOT register for next semester….I stop, and I make something. It brings me back to why I am doing this. I am doing this because I love to make products and use herbal teas to treat illness. I am doing this because I want that knowledge behind creating things.

Today I whipped up some lip balm! It has been Jackson approved. My children love chapstick and lip balm. Both boys. Alex wouldn’t try it because it was in a tin and not a tube and he is 2 and 2 year olds are detail oriented. “It doesn’t look like lip balm because it is not in a tube, therefore, it is definitely not lip balm and that is a hard pass, I want some cheese.” That is basically how it went down.

Without further adieu, here is the recipe. Also, family/friends, if you would like a tin for the holidays, please let me know!

Peppermint Jojoba Lip Balm

  • 1 Tablespoon beeswax pellets
  • 1 Tablespoon refined shea butter
  • `1/2 Tablespoon Jojoba oil
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil

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Using a double boiler, heat the beeswax, shea butter, and jojoba oil until melted. I used a whisk to whip them together once the pellets were completely melted. Use can also use an electric mixer if you want. I couldn’t find mine.

Add the peppermint oil, and continue to whisk. If it starts to harden, you can put it back over the boiling water as you whisk it. You may need to use an oven mitt if the metal is hot.

Then pour the mixture into small tins or lip balm tubes.

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Still warm, so it is a bit translucent

These are 1oz tins. You can double, triple, etc the recipe to make larger batches. This made almost two full tins. For larger batches, the electric whisk may be a better option. I think the hand whisk worked well with this small batch. Peppermint can be overwhelming as an oil. It is powerful! I erred on the side of caution with it. You can play with the drops, one or two more if you want it stronger, one less if you want even more subtlety.

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Cooled and ready to use!

I want to share an article Slate wrote today. I found it rather interesting. This was a unique perspective that I feel is important to take into consideration during all of this movement.  The Seven Main Reasons Democrats Shouldn’t Donate to Jill Stein’s Recount Fund I have been following this closely since last week. I even went to her donation page and stared at it for a long while debating a contribution. At the time she had only raised about 200k, maybe a little under. Ultimately, I did not donate. At that time I felt there were too many unknowns. However, I continued to follow this. I have been googling the progress each day. I am feeling: incredibly cautious optimism. I do not want to be disappointed again. Today I felt a twinge of excitement when I read the petition had been filed in Wisconsin. At the same time I reminded myself not to feel anything much over this.

This evening I again found myself considering making a donation. Then I saw the Slate article. I don’t know that I agree with everything, but I feel some valid points were made. Especially number 7. In a meeting I went to last weekend we discussed that upcoming senate election. Foster Campbell, Dec 10th. (Although, please take a look at his issues on the link to his campaign page.) I have donated to the ACLU and joined. I am also attending a fundraiser for the ACLU on the 9th. Followed up two days later with another group meeting (if you are local and want to join me and my partner in crime gal pals, let me know I will share info with you. Dudes welcome, I just happened to car pool with some of my favorite ladies)

I DO feel that our election system is rather hodgepodge. From primaries with voting and caucuses to the general elections with paper vs electronic and voter id/registration laws. These are all concepts too in depth to delve into in this post. It is a nightmare overall. We DO need to examine the consistency and integrity. However, I feel this strange pit in my stomach that this is just going to end up with a lot of people (anyone who doesn’t have faith in a Trump/Pence White House, myself included in that) disappointed all over again. Maybe it is a weird intuition. Maybe it is just that I am jaded.

I think we need to take a step back along with a deep breath, remembering that this doesn’t mean we are going to have some historic upheaval, regardless of what our dreams have been filled with during our nightly slumber. (Again, me included) The buzz going on around this is palpable. I have read other people’s hope and excitement. As much as I WANT to believe in that, the realist in me is not sold. If I am wrong and this comes to fruition, I will humbly admit I should have jumped on the recount train. I am not disavowing the attempt. Nor the inclination to make a donation. This is written by a woman who has already booked her hotel and flight for the women’s march the day after inauguration. I am not one to shy away from being vocal or taking action. I have experienced that twinge to act twice now for this particular cause. I am just concerned of hopes being utterly smashed once again. Personally, I do not want to go through that all over again so soon. Cautious optimism…..And who knows, I may make that donation yet. While reminding myself not to feel anything in particular about this action.

Winter is coming! It brings with it, dry air, harsh winds, and freezing temps. Those bring with them dry skin!

Lavender is probably my favorite herb, essential oil, scent, and color. I love love love everything about it. I have actually considered it for my next tattoo. Getting a lavender sprig on my right arm. I have been going back and forth on if I want it colored or just black. All of my other tattoos are black and I kind of love that. But I digress. Lavender is the bees knees.

I was inspired by putting lavender and vanilla essential oils into one of my diffusers. I decided I wanted to make a body butter using that lovely fragrance. This recipe was born. It smells rather heavenly. Cocoa butter, almond oil, lavender, and vanilla. It is like a delicious piece of pie all over your body.

Beyond smelling so yummy, it is really very moisturizing. I tested it out on myself. From toes to shoulders. It leaves your skin feeling soft. Your nails even get some hydration. My tattoos even looked refreshed after applying. It is a multi-use butter. You smell and look good.

Cocoa butter is rich in vitamin E, which is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep you young! It does have a strong scent that can overpower other scents. I am going to try making a version of this with a fractioned shea butter. Fractioned shea has a more subtle scent to it.

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Lavender Vanilla Body Butter

Cocoa butter comes solidified, if you did not know that. I ended up shaving it basically, into the measuring spoon. You have to heat it a bit and melt it down. You can use the double boiler option. Once that is liquified, add to your container. I use amber glass jars. Add the almond oil and essential oils. I emulsified with a tiny whisk. I was very thankful for my son’s passion for helping me cook. He picked out this very little whisk as one of his cooking tools. I borrowed it.

You will have to let it sit for a while before you start to see it solidify. It took mine overnight. Approximately 10-12 hours. I made it around 7pm and this morning around 7am, I noticed it was finally solid again! I applied it generously after my shower.

I included links to the specific items I used for this recipe. However, you can use whichever brand you prefer. I enjoy several brands of butters, oils, and herbs. I hope you get a chance to make this and if you do that you enjoy it as much as I do!

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I posted a status this morning regarding this election’s results. I am going to start this post off with that and go from there.

I weep this morning because I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to look into to my almost 6 year old’s face and tell him hate, racism, misogyny, anger, intolerance, and sexual assault won. I truly don’t know how I will do this without sobbing. I am always honest with my children and today I want nothing more than to tell big fat lies. I’m just so sad on a level I’ve never been before. Jason was hugging me all night as I sobbed, reassuring me he is as terrified as I am. No answers, just supporting me as my heart broke. And we both wondered together what happens next? I’ve never had to consider that my children will now grow in a world that is a little uglier, because despite giving my heart to stopping this from day one he announced, I failed them. We failed them.

As the day has progressed I think I have experienced several stages of grief. I am not happy about last night. By no means, but I am ready to keep fighting for what I believe in.

This morning after a hazy trip to Whole Foods for milk, I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee. I was still in the stage of almost nonstop tears. I decided to pay for the car behind me. I had to do something kind. I had to spread kindness. I had to be the change I want to see in the world. It is a small gesture, but sometimes these small gestures have a chain reaction.

On Monday my husband and I decided we wanted to sponsor a 2nd child. We have been sponsoring a little girl in Lebanon for nearly a year now! I received an update from her on Monday and my heart ached to help another child. This time we are sponsoring a little boy from the US. His favorite subject is reading, so he won me over instantly. Be the good in the country, nay, in the world.

I won’t sit here and write out every donation I have ever made or every activity I have volunteered for. I will say that my heart aches to help others. To try and lift all people up when and if they need it. To give my time to causes that do good. My heart aches today because not only did Trump win, no, an ideology that is misogynistic, racist, homophobic, intolerant, and ugly won. That nearly half of our country (she won the popular vote) chose either to whole heartedly support or were not bothered enough by and voted for those thoughts.

I am a female. I have a special needs cousin. I care about people from all walks of life. I am terrified of what this ideology will lead to. I have a degree in History where I spent a lot of time studying the 1930’s and 40’s. I have read and written many times over on what this kind of ugliness results in. I do not know if that will happen to us or if it does, to what extent. I truly hope that it doesn’t. I truly hope that we move forward and the anger and divisiveness that has plagued this campaign just ends tomorrow. I am wise enough to know that is more than likely wishful and naive thinking. I have been woken up though. I truly feel a fire inside of me. A fire to stay active and participate. I will use my voice and my brain to fight for what I believe in, a country that is truly a melting pot, where we celebrate that everyone is different, as I tell my boys every day. Midterms are next. This woman, wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, and neighbor feels the passion and is ready to stay awake and active.

I ask this of all people who feel as I feel this Wednesday afternoon: participate, speak out, do something kind, help someone, make a donation, vote, protest, campaign, run for office, instill kindness, love, tolerance, and generosity in your tiny humans, or just smile at a stranger. Do not let this defeat you. Do not be indifferent.

Eli Wiesel has been inspiring me since I was a young girl. I cried at his passing this year. I remember reading Night for the first time and my world being rocked. So I leave you with these words:

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My five year old is sick. Again. Such is life during cold and flu season for us. He has asthma, and subsequently he is very susceptible to all sorts of respiratory viruses. I have been begging him to nap all day. Five year olds do NOT like to nap. Especially my five year old. I decided to look for something to make to help him. I was browsing one of my favorite essential oil sites, and was inspired by them. Eden’s Garden. They have a line specifically designed for tiny humans. I may have bought every single oil in their line (so thankful for that this afternoon) They have a recipe for a sleepy time sachet. Using their sleepy time oil. I altered it a little bit, because I had different materials available.

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DIY Kids Sleep Sachet

Amount of rice/lavender will vary based on the size of you sachet. I happen to have a stock of muslin sachets in my herbs cabinet. For instructions on how to sew your own, you can refer to Eden’s Garden.

1 muslin sachet/bag

Handful of rice. I used brown rice, because that is what we have

Scoop of dried lavender

10-15 drops of Eden’s Garden Sleepy Time essential oil

Combine all of the ingredients in a zip baggie. Shake and mix well. Shake shake shake!

Pour the contents into the muslin bag. You can use a funnel if desired. I did not, I just kind of created a funnel with the zip bag.

Tied the muslin bag several times. I did 3 ties. Also, if you have smaller children who like to be adventurous coughcoughalexcoughcough you could sew this bag at the top as well.

This took  me a whopping 5 minutes to whip up. Most of my time was spent taking the photos. If you’re not photographing for your blog post, then the time should be even less! I did not heat this in the microwave, the scent was strong enough for me after I got it tied up. But Eden’s Garden does note you can warm it as well as warming it if the scent seems to be fading. It is reusable in the sense that you can also add more oil to it as the scent fades. Reusable and lovely smelling? Count me in!

He is not asleep in that photo. He was just looking down, but anything to help him relax. I am hopeful at some point he will doze off, even for a little while. If not, this will at least promote relaxation in general and his body can calm down. I will transfer this to his bed tonight for actual sleepy time.