January 22, 2015

New Year, New Goals?

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." - Neil Gaiman

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The first few weeks of this New Year have been hard. I don't mean that in the traditional sense-there has not been chaos or tragedy-but there has been struggle. I've been thinking a lot lately about words like purpose, focus, drive. What do these words really mean to me? What are my goals for this new year? Where do I see myself heading? Last year, my goal was balance. I wanted to learn how to spread my time more evenly between the boys, the hubs, my friends and most importantly, myself. Up until January of last year, I hadn't made myself a priority at all. Through trial and error and a few false starts, I realized that focusing on balance last year was really my way of understanding the importance of investing in me. Overall, I think I got there. Am I perfectly balanced all the time? NO! But in trying, it has become an ingrained habit. 

Which brings me back to present day. I've thought hard about what my word for this year should be. Seems like everyone around me has shot straight out of the gates at the sound of the horn (or more precisely, the infamous ball drop) and I've been too distracted by my thoughts to even leave the stable. More power to everyone that purchased their "purposeful planners" and haven't stopped gabbing about them since, but I'm just not there, friends. So, how do I get there?

I'm still mulling that over. But here are some goals I have in mind currently:

- Grow my business more. Plain and simple, I want to take on more writing projects. In order to do so, I need to reorganize the site (perhaps a switch to wordpress?? Thoughts?), redo my business cards, etc. The logistics here are key.

- Write outside the box. Not only do I want to grow my business, I want to grow as a writer. I love writing parenting articles and blogging about my life with the boys. It's a big part of my life, so of course, it stays. But I also want to stretch beyond that. I don't want to feel limited in what I can do. Short stories, poems, humor, nonfiction, fashion, music, books. Nothing should be off limits!

- Travel more. Last year, I visited the West Coast, the East Coast and spent a week in Mexico. I loved seeing new and old places, getting out of the house and out of my element. It was so much fun and I want to keep it up this year. 

- Learn to communicate better. This is hard for me. As someone that eats, sleeps and breaths words, one would think that this wouldn't be an issue. But I'm much more effective at writing-playing with words, thinking it over, proofreading and editing- than verbally expressing things. In an effort to be open and honest all of the time, I can sometimes say things impulsively without stopping to think about how it will be received. Also, I want to focus on being more direct with what I say. I tend to get a little scattered when I'm anxious about a particular topic. 

- Learn. Never stop learning. Never stop pushing myself.

These are just a few of them, but a pretty good list so far! What's on your goal list? Did you pick a word? I want to hear all about it!

January 13, 2015

Round These Parts

I intended to do the usual Christmas Recap and Year in Review Round-Up posts in a timely manner, but it never felt like a good time to do it. Now, we have reached the second week of the new year and I'm thinking it's now or never. So how about now? ;)

We decided to go very simple with Christmas for the boys. It's easy to want to go overboard and buy all the things. But, I've been thinking a lot over the past few months about how complicated life gets when we're inundated and consumed by material possessions. I've never been particularly fond of "stuff." If you came to my house, you wouldn't find many knick knacks or a lot of clutter anywhere. Growing up, at times, without even basic necessities like food, water and electricity taught me not to put much worth into objects. Which is mostly a good thing, but which can sometimes paralyze me when it comes time to purchase material things. In fact, every time Chris asked me to sit down and look at possible Christmas gifts with him, I'd practically start hyperventilating. I want them to be grateful and appreciative of the "stuff" they do get without having to learn the hard lessons like I did as a kid. How to do that?

A few presents were placed under the tree and plans were made for the next family vacation. But memories are where it's at. That's the answer. The "stuff" will break, age, deteriorate. They will grow out of it or lose it. But the trips we take and the things we do together will last a lifetime. And that's exactly what I'm aiming for. More to come on trips in later posts. For now, let's collectively admire my handsome boys, shall we?






My absolute favorite part was seeing the joy on their faces when they got exactly what they had been wanting. Optimus Prime for Landon, Bumblebee for Ry. (We're in a big Transformers/Rescue Bots Phase at the moment)






And of course, there was quite a bit of joy on my face when I opened my present and saw my new record player. I almost cried. I've been wanting one forever. 


                                     



When Christmas was over and New Years passed through, things got a little quieter. I've been taking note of how big my boys are getting lately. Do you ever have those moments where you're just going about your business and then something makes you stop and it's like you're seeing your surroundings for the first time? I seem to have those moments frequently, but never does it hit me as hard as when it happens with my boys. Ry woke up from an unusually long nap a few days ago and when he walked out of his room, it looked like he'd grown at least three inches and lost some of that sweet baby face chub. And I thought to myself, how the heck did that happen?! Between the hours of 12 and 2 today, somehow my baby stopped looking quite so babyish. And then of course, I wanted to cry because time goes by awfully fast and I wish that I could fully appreciate these little moments every single day. 

Like the relationship between the boys. They fight, but they're also best friends. There's this deep connection I witness with them that reminds me so much of the connection I have with my own siblings. Chris didn't experience that growing up and that always makes me feel a little sad for him. I don't think there's anything on the planet quite as complex as the dynamic between people that have grown in the same womb. 




I have to say, they are very interesting and funny to watch. Their conversations make me smile. 







I'm really lucky. I don't always feel that way when the days are long and the tantrums epic, but I know it's true. They make my world go round. I couldn't ask for two better kids. Even when those kids in question are being grouchy. ;)





 Here's to a new year, a new clock and lots more adventures. How's your year been going so far?

January 5, 2015

Post-Workout Protein Smoothie with Maple Water

* This is a recipe campaign with Mums the Word Network and Vertical Water. All opinions are my own. 


Over the years, as I've begun to fine tune the art of properly nourishing my body, I've realized that fitness is just one half of the healthy whole. If I'm not eating enough or eating right, I feel it. I notice it in my overall running times, my endurance, how many reps I can do in targeted exercises, how much weight I can lift when I'm toning. I also tend to feel it post-workout most when the soreness begins to set in. Your body needs recovery fuel and if you're anything like me, after a workout and when you need it most, you don't really feel like eating.

Protein smoothies are my go-to after a good workout. My favorite one was a combination of kale, peanut butter, oats, banana and coconut water. I had it every day for months until I became utterly sick of it and never wanted to look at kale again. Clearly, it was time to switch it up. The question was with what? How could I still get the nutrients my body needed without having the same ole ingredients?

That's when I found out about Vertical Water. You might be asking yourself, "What's Vertical Water?" Vertical Water is 100% pure maple water tapped fresh from American maple trees, with nothing added. It is water that flows through the maple's trunk and branches, delivering nutrients that the tree will need for Springtime growth. Vertical Water taps this flow (without harming the tree) and packages it in an ecologically friendly Tetra Pak for us to enjoy. 



It's truly a win-win for me since I'm getting some of the same nutrients from my once beloved kale (Maple water has more manganese in one serving than a cup of kale), while also giving me a healthier and better tasting alternative to Coconut water, which is what I had been using previously as well. I'm switching it up on all sorts of levels over here! ;)





Here's my new favorite and ridiculously easy to make, post-workout smoothie:




And I shall call it, Jen's Ridiculously Easy and Super Awesome Post-Workout Smoothie. Feel free to pass it along to all your friends!



Ingredients:
12 ounces Vertical Water Maple Water
1 Banana
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Greek Yogurt (or plain, if you prefer)
A light drizzle of honey
3-4 Ice Cubes


Throw it all in a blender and voila!  A delicious recovery fuel for those sore muscles. Your body will thank me.





Have you tried Maple Water? What did you think? If you have any recipes you'd like to share, be sure to link it up in the comments below!



December 17, 2014

... {Vol 1}

You are exactly as much as you need to be right now. 

Make mistakes and poor judgment calls. Sometimes you're just going to have to stumble along until you get there. You will always be a student. This is the school of Life- you never stop learning.

You are nobodies consolation prize. And you should never settle to be the second or third or fifth choice. 

Know your worth. Know your worth. Know your worth. 

Say the thing you've needed to say. The one that is always simmering just below the surface. The one that scares you, leaves you exposed and vulnerable and raw. Say it despite how it will be received or whether it will be reciprocated. Chances are, they already know. Speak your truth.

Stop reaching so far. If they valued you enough, they would meet you halfway.

The 'What if' game is a dangerous one. Proceed with caution and understand that it almost never leads to anything tangible. 

Do not be afraid to call bullshit. 

There will be defining moments that require you to forge ahead or walk away. Many will continue to forge ahead, because it feels like the safer option. Don't be afraid to walk away. 

When you're feeling less than, don't wallow in it. Get up, get dressed, keep moving. 

Just. keep. moving.








December 15, 2014

Currently {Vol 3}

Well hello and happy Monday to ya! It's been a whirlwind of activity round these parts, hence the blog silence. This holiday season has so far been equal parts festive and sad, if I'm being honest. Festive, thanks to all of the jolly decorations and lights twinkling on the houses and seeing Santa with the boys and winter wonderlands with carousel rides. Sad, because as the boys get a little older, we realize how much we want our families to be apart of the magic. Perusing through Walmart the other day, Judy Garland's, "Have yourself a merry little christmas" began to play and I started to tear up. And I thought to myself, damn you Judy Garland! Damn you, "I'll be home for Christmas!" Damn you, Bing Crosby!  Bah-humbug! And when the cashier asked me how I was, I told her the truth, which was, "a little sad", thanks for asking. I tried to explain about Judy and family and holidays. She blinked, nodded for a moment and said, "Well, these things happen sometimes," and went back to scanning.

So, I'm trying not to be sad about what's missing and focus on what's right here, because it's good. It really is. This is what I've been up to (please excuse the iPhone dump):

Currently reading:


The History of Love is my favorite book. I've read it a thousand times, but decided to re-read. Tiny beautiful things is in my top five- again, a book I needed to re-read. Particularly, the last few weeks. Also read "Looking For Alaska" by John Greene. Good book! 


Currently obsessing over:


Readers, meet Bette. Bette, meet my lovely readers. I've had an electric since Sophomore year in high school, but have been searching for an acoustic the past few months. And here she is. We're getting along smashingly. ;)




Loving: 



From a book called, "Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series," by Tyler Knott Gregson. The whole book is fantastic, but this one really spoke to me.



Hanging out:


With this knucklehead. Oh, and the older one. (who now hates taking pictures)



Listening to:




The Maroon 5 video is kinda creepy, but I LOVE this song. Songs have a way of giving words to our feelings.



Eating:


I made these bacon wrapped water chestnuts for a Holiday Party we had on Saturday and they're always a huge hit! I'm thinking I need to put the recipe up on the blog soon, so you too can wow guests with this ridiculously easy appetizer. 



What are your currentlys?



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