Friday, April 27, 2012

Living The Dream

Earlier today a younger mom friend was struggling with her toddler and new baby when she turned to me and said "why did you have so many kids? What were you thinking?"

At the time I was concerned about a few issues with one - or more - of my own kids and so gave my standard answer of "I have no idea what the hell I was thinking."

The little secret no one ever tells a young, pregnant woman is that sometimes, often times, raising kids sucks. It's hard work. It's exhausting. It's never ending. It's actual work!

When my sister and I are frustrated with kids and life with kids, we'll text each other a sarcastic reminder that we are 'living the dream, baby!'

But sometimes, when you least expect it, if you can let go of how exhausting it all is, you get a reminder that you are indeed living the dream.

Tonight was that night for me.

It started out pretty normal: rush home from work, make dinner, rush off to Tae Kwon Do, mentally calculate the cost of upcoming belt testing and new equipment needed, push money concerns aside as we rush home to eat dinner, notice gas light is on in car and mentally calculate how many miles left to home, eat dinner, clean up kitchen, take dogs for a walk, notice dog #1 is really beginning to struggle with her old hips, push dog is getting old and may not have much longer thoughts aside....

And then, dog #1 took off running after dog #2 who was chasing kid #'s 4 & 5 as they rode their bikes.  The kids started laughing and I started laughing.

As we made our way back home, kid #'s 2 & 3 were in the driveway shooting baskets. Normally I would have rushed everyone inside to begin showers and night time routine. But instead the weather was so nice I sat down on the porch swing.

Each of the kids eventually made their way to the porch swing with me, where for the next hour they had races, played games, danced to music, laughed, didn't fight, cheered each other on and just had a fun time together.

I wondered as I sat there enjoying myself and my kids how many times I had missed out on nights like this because I was always too busy rushing everyone ahead to the next activity or next chore to be done? Why was tonight different?

Because I was too tired to think ahead. I was forced to stay in the present moment. And, surprise surprise, I really enjoyed the present moment.

For a couple delightful, present hours tonight, I was indeed living the dream.
Me and my gang

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ghosts of Generations Past

I arrived a bit early to the community center to teach my early morning yoga class today and as I dragged my big bag of props in,  I realized the center was preparing for a quilting show. At first glance this doesn't sound very exciting, and everyone who knows me knows I am the not a crafty person. But something drew me to these pieces of art. It was more than just the dedication and craftsmanship put in to them, it was the memories they evoked.

As I walked along the rows of handmade quilts, I mentioned to one of my students how I wished I had paid attention when my grandmother tried to teach me to quilt. She said her mother quilts and she also had no interest in learning, but treasures the quilts she does have.

In fact, just last week I took my grandmothers last remaining quilt off my bed. It was getting too shabby and was falling apart. I want to save what is left of it, but need to find a better was to save it rather than just stuff it into a closet somewhere. I know for a fact her quilts are meant to be saved. They are one of the few things that survived Hurricane Katrina when most of our other household possessions were ruined.

The memories of my grandmother got me to thinking how I also wish I had let her teach me to bake bread. Even now, more than 12 hours later, my memory can still bring up the smell of bread baking in her kitchen and I've got a serious carb craving going on.

Later, I received the invitation to my Godfathers memorial service in the mail. There was a brief bio of his life along with a picture. This is a man whom I spent so much time with growing up, yet I never knew he was a medic in the army. I wonder if that's why my dad - his younger brother - became a corpsman in Vietnam? My oldest son has been talking to recruiters and is seriously considering enlisting and going to corpsman school. He came up with this plan on his own, not knowing there was a family history.

As I was making dinner, I carelessly reached over and grabbed a hot pan with my bare hands. As I said some not nice and very unyogic words, I realized I not only used the exact words my grandfather used to say, but I said them in the exact same tone.

So what was my first thought to do with all these ghosts coming up today? Call my mom of course.

But I can't. She's also gone now, alive only in my memories. Another ghost.

A few weeks ago, I sent this picture to my sister:

It's my grandparents with each of my kids. And if you look carefully in the right corner, you can see my mom and part of my dad in the picture too. The picture is only eight years old, but three of the adults are now gone, and the kids are no longer kids. A couple are making plans for college and military. And the little ones only know their grandparents and great grandparents by the stories I tell them.

I'm not sure what to make of all these ghosts and memories today. Is it my loved ones trying to reach out to me or just my realization that time is indeed flying by way too fast?

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Accept This Award and Pass It Forward To...

I've been a little behind on reading both my Twitter feed and favorite blog list, so it took me a couple days to realize my fellow blogger Yoga Crystal had written a post making me one of her favorite bloggers and offering me a Liebster Award.

I have to admit, I wasn't sure what  Liebster was at first or if it was a good thing. Turns out it's quite a good thing. Liebster is a German word meaning "dearest" and the award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers.

To Yoga Crystal - thank you, I'm honored to be included amongst so many great writers.

As part of the award, I now get to pass it on to five of my favorite bloggers. Please, go check out these fellow writers:

1. Transformation Information. My dear friend Jilda writes daily about yoga, her dogs and her life. I'm privileged to know Jilda in person, and every time I'm in her presence I feel calm and peaceful. That serenity comes through in her writing as well. And although he has too many followers to be eligible for the Liebster Award, also check out Jilda's husbands blog Life 101.  Rick is a local newspaper columnist in Alabama and he writes real life personal interest stories.

2. This Is Who I Really Am. Travis is a runner, yogi and big time music lover. Each week he writes about a song that inspires him and finds a way to relate it to his - and his readers - life. Read his "Music Monday: Bully" post from April 3, 2012. It's powerful.

3. The Pondering Yogini. I have no idea why Meredith only has 60 followers. She is a fellow yoga teacher who often writes about applying yoga lessons to her life. She's also one of the founders of the Twitter Yoga Book Club. Her meditation posts always inspire me to sit and get quiet myself.

4. Slimming Down to Sexy. Honest, humorous writing from Natalie about her weight loss journey. She details her successes and her failures in a way we can all relate to.

5. YIOM. This one might be kind of cheating because I'm going to sneak in two great blogs in one here.  The YIOM (Yoga Inspired Online Movement) site is a collaboration of yoga bloggers, a list of their blog sites, and once a month a review of the months writing. The YIOM site is cared for by Thais who writes one of my top favorite blogs at Living In The k(N)ow.

6. Yes, I know I'm supposed to only have five. But I have to mention French Christmas. Noel is a writer I met two years ago during #reverb10. She sent me encouraging and touching messages as I wrote about my moms death from cancer. She is quite a talented writer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Moving & Grooving For the Rest of My Years

I was talking with someone today about dieting vs. a healthy lifestyle. I asked is what you are doing today going to be something you can continue to do the rest of your life with positive consequences? If the answer is yes, you are on the right track.

If not, I'd ask what are your long term goals.

I don't mean the number of pounds you want to lose, or the number of miles you can run. I mean really long term. What state of health and fitness do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?

Living off protein bars might make you skinny now, but it will not make you a vibrant and healthy 70 year old. Pounding your joints and over stressing your muscles in the gym now might give you a nice sculpted body, but it won't make you an active 80 year old.

Why am I so concerned with what my life will be like as a senior? A few reasons:

1. I teach senior fitness classes and seeing 70, 80 and even 90 years olds lifting weights and moving around the aerobic room inspires me. Their stories of how strong and healthy they are make me realize that my now 42 year old body may not always be able to rock an advanced yoga pose, but it can - if I take care of it - still move me and let me chase after my one day ( in the very, very far future ) keep up with my grandchildren.

2. I've sadly, seen the opposite as well. People as young as me whose bad habits and unhealthy lifestyle have brought them nothing but illness and pain.

3. Life is full of fun opportunities! I don't want to be sitting on the sidelines watching - I want to be out there living it!

So what is my long term health and fitness goal? I mean like really long term?

To be a Grizzly Granny!

The Grizzly Grannies & Grandpas are a dance team that perform at the halftime show of the Memphis Grizzlies basketball team. They are so fun to watch! Today in the gym I noticed a silver haired woman wearing a Grizzly Grannies t-shirt. I asked her if she was part of the dance team and she said yes she was.

We talked for quite a while. I was surprised how intense their rehearsal schedule is! These seniors have to be fit and able to move at a fast pace.  In fact, the whole time I was talking to this woman she was running on the treadmill. Not walking, running.

No matter how much money I spend on magic potions now to keep me looking young, the truth is someday I will be a senior citizen. But I am determined to be the kind of senior that is never home because I'm too busy at the gym, participating in a local 5K or dancing during the half time show.

(The video quality isn't that great. All the YouTube videos I could find were shot on someones cell phone. But it's definitely worth watching. I guarantee it will make you smile.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Green Goddess Explosion

In my on-going attempt to prepare healthy meals and snacks ahead of time, I had the ingenious idea to make a huge batch of Green Goddess smoothies at about 10:30pm last night.  My very inexpensive blender from Walmart did pretty good when I made a triple batch a few weeks ago, so why not double that and make 6 Green Goddess smoothies to freeze and have on hand?

What could possibly go wrong?

"Eww it looks like Shrek threw up in here!" said Kid #1 as he entered the kitchen.

No, I'm confident if I just hold down the lid it will stop overflowing. But watch out in case the whole thing blows I said.

Of course, it did eventually blow and I had Green Goddess smoothie all over the counters. After I cleaned up the mess I was able to save enough for four servings.

I had half a serving this afternoon. I would have finished the rest but kid #6 asked for a sip and ended up finishing it all.

It's time to buy a bigger blender!