Wanting to give back this holiday season and also get my kids out of the house, out of their normal weekend routine, I made plans to head into DC to participate in the Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery. The plan was to meet up with my friends Pam and Foxy at 815 at ANC and start spreading the joy.
Well, like I have said before life is all about surprises and learning how to be comfortable when uncomfortable things arise…
The kids got up well for once and although we hit the road a bit late, we were on our way. As we traveled down the street that led directly to the cemetery, we got stuck in a huge, standstill traffic jam. Seems most of the DMV area had the same idea and were on their way to the same parking lot. After about 45 minutes of hardly moving traffic, we noticed smoke coming from the front of the car. At first, I thought it was the wind kicking up the exhaust smoke from the car in front of us… Well, no – that was not it.
It was our car! The car starts to overheat and smoke starts to quickly thicken and billow out our car hood. It became even clearer that it was us when people started to look and point. Scotty didn’t miss a beat. He pulled over to assess the situation and a random nice guy pulled over as well to see if he could lend us some help – A big thank you to that guy! You rock!
Unfortunately, the car issue was not something fixable on the spot. Fortunately, we do have AAA! Scott told us to go ahead to the cemetery while he took care of the car and waited for the tow truck. 45 minutes later, the tow truck guy arrived and took Scotty and the car back near home to our mechanic and then on to home. And not to get into the details, but it of course is not a cheap fix – but the car is fixed and we are picking it up this afternoon.
But that’s not where the story ends…
When the kids and I arrived at the gates of the cemetery, I had to hit the restroom. Well what a shocker that the women’s rest room had a line –but not just any line – a mile long line. Imagine an event like this, open to the public, and the weather was pretty darn good. Then add in having only 8 bathroom stalls available for the women??? The men’s rooms had urinals (I am told) and had NO LINES – and 40 minutes later, I took my turn. When I left the rest room, the line was as long, if not longer.
And the friends I was supposed to meet? Well we never did meet up. They were in that same long car traffic jam and after a long time, were directed to park at the Pentagon and then had to take the metro over. When they finally arrive, they had to stand in that rest room line.
By the time they were ready to start, my kids had had enough. They did enjoy the first hour or so of walking the grounds – and putting wreaths down, when they are done, they are done. So we started to head out of the cemetery…
How will we get home?
As we were walking out, the reality of having to take the metro hit my son. And when he heard it would take over an hour to get home, well he was not a happy camper. All I said to him – calmly “Well, what would you like me to do?” and of course, he had no answer. Just shrugged and started trudging down the sidewalk to the metro station.
Which is where we encountered yet another line…a long line. It didn’t help that the metro card machine broke down while I was trying to use it. Which meant I had to wait for the mechanic to reset the machine. It took me a while to figure out what stop, because I have not been on the silver line before. But I found my destination on the map and bought my 3 tickets. The lady behind me asked me – with panic in her voice – if I could help her please because she had no idea how to buy multiple tickets. As frustrated as I was, I took the time to help her out – you have to be kind to expect kindness in return.
Then we have to get into a long line to go through the turn style – and head up to catch the train. As we are about to board the train, my daughter says “Mom, I lost my metro ticket down there…” (Between the escalators i.e. unreachable) “But don’t worry Mom, I have been on the metro before and we don’t need it anymore.” WRONG. I said in a very frustrated and even a bit angry tone – “Yes you do. How will they know where you get on when you get off?” You know kids know everything…
I had no idea what the deal would be when we got off the train, but we got on and headed towards home. When we arrived, Scotty was waiting for us, had already talked to the metro guy and they let us through with no issue.
A great husband…
Let me take a moment to share how much I love Scotty.
He had been really looking forward to this event and because of the car, he couldn’t. Not only did he take care of the car issue without getting upset, he was waiting for us at the metro station, had already talked to the metro attendant, so we didn’t have to wait to deal with the lost fare card and further more, when we got to the car – he had picked up lunch from one of my favorite places because he knew I would be hungry.
Keep this story in mind, when you go on Facebook and look at all the wonderful pictures I took from this event. Social media does not tell real story behind experiences… Wreaths Across America photo gallery
So, that’s what happens when the Hoaglunds try to get outside of our comfort zone and do something different. It never goes off as planned – but as Scott and I remarked later in the day, things could have been so much worse in this situation and in life in general. It’s all about perspective…
Hours after I published my last post, I saw the post that crushed my heart…
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that our hearts shattered into a million pieces as of 5:00 pm , Sunday night. December 7th will be the date that our beautiful, handsome , strong, brave, athletic , smart, loving , caring, incredible , perfect…MVP decided to be cancer free & leave this earth. He was surrounded by love , as Chris , Troy & I were holding his hands & telling him how much we love him . #MathiasStrong
I wish the family healing, peace and love while they grieve and learn to live their new normal…
It was 6 years ago, during my last trip to Disney, I started to get my ass in gear and began taking care of myself. Having just gotten back a few days ago from my family’s latest trip there, it became clear to me how many people in the world need to do the same.
Before I go off on a rant about my observations, I want to preface it with the following: Everyone, no matter who they are, what size they are, where they come from, how much money they make, deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
It seemed to me that something like 80% of the visitors to Disney were overweight. Every park, every hotel; There was an exorbitant amount of seriously obese people everywhere I went. And 9 out of 10 people who were using scooters, were obese.
I guess I live somewhat of a sheltered life in that my social circles – it’s not the norm. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of people who could stand to lose some weight and/or get moving but that’s not what I am talking about. The shock was how many out of control obese people were there. Before someone points out that it’s an economic thing – these were people visiting Disney! It’s not exactly the definition of affordable.
There are a few things that upset me about seeing this microcosm of our world:
- For a majority of the morbidly obese, something in their lives is out of control. It’s not about the food, it’s about what’s going on in their head. To see how many people are so out of control in their lives was shocking.
- I understand that everyone has a story and you can’t tell what’s going on in someone else’s world by looking, but it appeared that many of them seem resigned to accept their circumstances. They are obese, it is what it is and they ‘live’ with it. They eat the processed, crap, junk food as if that’s how you should eat.
- To add on to my second point above, renting scooters instead of walking isn’t going to help anyone’s situation. I pointed out to my daughter that the average human skeleton isn’t designed to carry a ton of extra weight. It’s hard on the knees, feet – joints in general so I understand the reasons for renting a scooter but there were so many of them in the parks during my visit. So many of the obese people I saw were also in scooters.
- They are passing bad habits on to their children. Obviously, being at Disney, there are a ton of parents. It was clear that children are growing up learning their parents’ bad habits. Many of the obese adults I saw had children who were also dealing with their own obesity issues.
- While everyone is free to live the way they want, it’s a fact that obesity costs everyone. “The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs.” PhitAmerica compiled 10 Flabbergasting Costs of America’s Obesity Epidemic that really highlights how obesity isn’t just a personal issue.
While I am totally for splurging while on vacation and Disney is a great place to do that – it is possible to eat healthy there…
The resort we stayed at Port Orleans: French Quarter had a fridge that had containers of fresh fruit and veggies available during all hours in their restaurant. I also noticed that each ‘quick snack’ store also had some options available. Also, if you have any special dietary needs, you simply ask for the Chef. The Chef will come out to discuss your needs and try his/her best to accommodate what you need. We tested it each and every morning with my son’s gluten allergy. I also brought some single serve Justin’s Almond Butter with me so I could dip fresh apples or celery in it for a quick, healthy breakfast or snack during the trip.
So, what’s my point? It was shock to me to see how many people are so out of control in their lives that they let themselves go to that extent. It was shocking, sad and made me angry too. We all have to take personal responsibility for who we are in this world.
Is the obesity epidemic caused by lack of education? is it because of economics? Is it generational? Yes, yes and yes but does that make it right? No.
We need to participate in the discussion and come up with innovative, strong ways to address it – together.
I’m back from my vacation spent at the Happiest Place on Earth. I wonder if anyone really thinks that’s true?
For my first post back, here are some great things about the six days I spent there:
- Family Time: Life at home is so busy that it’s hard to find dedicated time to spend as a family.
- One on One Time With The Kids: Was able to spend alone time with both of my kids. I get to see different aspects of their personalities when they don’t have to hang out with one another. I get to really know them as individuals.
- Witnessing My Kids Mature: My son has always been hesitant to try roller coasters. After a few false starts (Space Mountain), he finally mustered enough courage to try one (Big Thunder Mountain) during the trip and discovered it was fun. I was thankful that I was able to witness seeing him gain the confidence to give it a try and then realize it wasn’t as bad as he thought.
My daughter became smitten with a young boy on one of our bus rides back to our hotel. During the ride, she started to get mad at her dad when he was telling her something because she felt that it was embarrassing her in front of him. He didn’t have a clue until I looked at the boy and then looked at her – the light bulb finally went off and he got it.
- The Magic of Family: Time and time again, I was able to catch moments of love between families. Brothers laughing and hugging on our bus ride back to the hotel, parents kissing their little baby, a Mom putting her arm around her teen son as they waited for a bus to arrive, a Grandma guiding her toddler grandson to the restroom. Family reunions, friends, newlyweds – they were all represented during our trip.
- The Adrenaline Rush: Riding rollercoasters and other attractions definitely kicks up your adrenaline stores which is a good thing.
- The Weather: For most of the trip, it was sunny with a nice breeze. One day it was chilly but nothing some gloves and a hat couldn’t fix.
- The Magic of Disney: Witnessing young kids discovering the joy and wonderment of the Disney experience never gets old. They believe in what they are seeing and it shows on their faces –whether it’s excitement or a little bit of fear; they believe.
- Witnessing Exceptional Customer Service: Disney has the art of treating people like they matter down to a science. It definitely makes a difference.
My company held a health and wellness fair yesterday and offered free 10 minute massages- a regular seated massage and also a shiatsu. I opted for both because a free massage is a good massage in my book. The regular seated massage didn’t do much for me- the women did not go hard enough for me to feel any benefit even after I asked her too. So while I am not going to complain about someone rubbing my back – it wasn’t the most fulfilling 10 mins of my life. But the shiatsu massage was amazing! I didn’t really know what a shiatsu massage was beforehand but I am sold on it. According to Google:
It’s a form of therapeutic massage in which pressure is applied with the thumbs and palms to those areas of the body used in acupuncture. Also called acupressure. Shiatsu, a Japanese form of acupressure involving finger pressure at specific points on the body, mainly for the purpose of balancing energy in the body.
As the massage therapist worked her magic, she told me how smart I was to do strength training. My bones will be strong and carry me for a while. Which brings me to why I chose
Today’s reason to exercise: to help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
And while osteoporosis is mostly talked about in relation to pre-menopausal women – we need to pay attention to men and children as well. And the fact is osteoporosis is affecting women younger and younger...
- 200 million women worldwide have osteoporosis; 10 million live in the United States. (1)
- 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis are women. (3)
- A woman’s risk of breaking a hip due to osteoporosis is as high as her combined risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. (3)
Four straight days of exercise has left me sore — My quads are so sore it hurts to walk down stairs — so today is a rest day. Rest and recovery is just as important as exercise in your overall health and wellness plan. It’s the times you haven’t taken enough rest time and aren’t on top of your game that you get injured.
This past weekend, the topic of body image was on my mind. I follow some modeling agencies on Instagram -one of the many fashion weeks has just passed and I kept noticing how thin the models look. Not healthy thin either. For a brief moment, I thought maybe my outlook changed because I am around strong women who workout and have muscles. Annie Thorisdottir and Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet are the type of women I see in the magazines and websites I frequent. But then I realized that wasn’t it – they really are too thin. Even my 12 year old daughter mentioned how emaciated they looked. It bothered me to see that this sort of look is still favored in the world of fashion. We all need to make sure we are having regular and real conversations with our kids about body image. Just the other day I read a post about a woman making sure her sons see her naked on occasion, so they don’t develop a warped sense of what a women’s body looks like….
- 11 Facts About Body Image
- For the sake of young girls, the conversation about body image needs to change (guest opinion)
- Yes, you should feel bad for models: we’re being told to go diet – or go broke
- Life Lessons: You’ll Never Throw Coffee Grounds Away Again
- Life Lessons: Stop Accumulating Stuff And Start Accumulating Experiences
- Fitness: Your Fancy Non-Cotton Workout Clothes Stink
As I spent time yesterday reading about Robin Williams, it became clear how judgmental some people insist on being. Who are we to judge someone else’s actions? We were not in his shoes at that moment or the ones that led up to it. All I can imagine is the immense pain he must have felt to actually want to die. One blogger wrote about how selfish he was by taking his own life. Another wrote about how it was a choice he decided to make. I am not a doctor nor super educated in depression – I have felt very low during periods of my life and can attest to the fact that you aren’t necessarily capable of making rational, clear decisions. The decisions you make are filtered by what you are feeling and thinking every second of every day, so if you are depressed or happy – it influences your actions.
The actions you take while you are in the throws of Mr D. seem rational at the time. They seem like the only logical choice to make that will help you feel better and stop the pain. Regardless, we have no room to judge what Robin Williams decided to do. Is it something you would do? I hope not. Do I wish he had not done it? Absolutely. I feel sad but realize that I can not comment on someone else’s journey and no one else should feel as if they are entitled to either. We really need to take a look at our society as a whole and find ways to be kinder and act with more compassion. We are all here for a short time…
- CrossFit: CrossFit Flirting: Talk Burpee To Me
- Life Lessons: Hit the Reset Button In Your Brain
- Nutrition: There Are No ‘Food Winners’
- Fitness: More Exercise Isn’t Always Better, Study Shows
One of the challenges of this summer has been my 12 year old daughter is home during the day. She really wasn’t into attending camp this summer – so other than a few weeks where there were specialized camps, she is home. Which means she has to figure out a way to keep herself occupied and out of my hair. She seems to be glued to her tablet and/or the TV for most of the day, which annoys me to no end. I challenged her to read at least one book a week this summer but she doesn’t seem to be really digging that idea. I ran across this post with some tips to help us parents encourage our kids to READ. Most are basic but I do like the one below and will start doing this for an hour or so a day while she is home.
Have an Electronics Black Out
For just an hour a day, or even just once a week, have an all out electronics blackout. Turn off the TV, the computer, cell phones and any other distracting device (unless it is an eReader) and pick up a book, magazine or newspaper. There is a saying that goes ‘monkey see, monkey do’, and if kids are used to seeing everyone around them read, they too will be encouraged to read more books.
On a related note: Most 10-Year-Olds Are More Afraid Of Getting ‘Fat’ Than Getting Cancer. A lot of the info she shares in the video below is discouraging, but being unhealthy is not OK. However, do people who are overweight and/or obese deserve respect and kindness like every other living soul in the world? ABSOLUTELY. In my mind, it shouldn’t be about condoning unhealthy behavior and habits, but teaching folks to rewire how to approach and treat people – no matter the circumstance. Always choose kindness and understanding…
- CrossFit: What a workout: The Crossfit exercise program is intense, but it does get results
- CrossFit: Healthy or Hot? Priorities or Not?
- CrossFit: Crossfit Gave Me Nothing.
- Life Lessons: Why is the world of sport less female-friendly than a war zone?
I’m really digging this song and its message: Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
The HR monitor reset as we were doing sprints outside but I saw it before it reset and my calorie count for this hour workout was: 810. Not too shabby considering I felt pretty worn out. I have to figure out a way to loosen my body for the 6A boxing class. By the time I am finally feeling like I can hit hard, we are on the fourth round!
With the kiddos off to camp this week, Scott and I are taking time to reconnect. It is so odd to not have the kids home. The drive to VTech to drop them off was filled with bickering and Are we there yets as expected. The 4 hour drive home though — was pure heaven. We listened to uncensored music. I took an uninterrupted nap. We stopped and got Dairy Queen. We were FREE!
Truth is, I miss those brats but it’s nice to have some down time once in a while. It makes you appreciate them all the more!
I am going to start working on getting up and heading for my workouts at 6A again on the regular. It’s amazing how fast you can get used to sleeping in even though it was easy for me to get up super early for years. The thing I am finding though is that because my body is still stiff that early in the AM, the boxing class is a bit tougher for me. I guess I will just have to get used to it once again. Liz and I are planning on adding in two strength days and then boxing and yoga to round out our weekly workout routine. I’m excited to have my lifting partner back and we are renewed with energy!
I came across this post last night that I think is share worthy and can be applied to sons and daughters….
19 Things I Will Tell My Daughter, via @brennanat (tumblr)
1. Wash your sheets every two weeks, I promise you’ll sleep better.
2. If a boy breaks your heart, it’s okay to cry.
3. If a girl breaks your heart, it’s okay to cry.
4. School is important, but there are many things you can’t learn in a classroom. Pursue them.
5. Find your passion, and run with it.
6. No, you don’t need to lose weight.
7. You are beautiful without make up.
8. You are beautiful with make up.
9. Being a good person will never go out of style
10. Buy yourself flowers if you’re feeling sad.
11. Getting enough sleep is very important.
12. Drinking water has so many benefits
13. Believe in fairy tales, believe in love, and allow no one to steal your magic.
14. Reading is good for the soul.
15. I am not here to judge you, but I will always support what I think is best for you.
16. I appreciate you.
17. I am proud of you.
18 Even on your worst days, you will never disappoint me.
19. I love you no matter what.
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Scott planned a last minute family road trip to Williamsburg to celebrate the Fourth of July. Fireworks watching in Colonial Williamsburg – what could be more appropriate? The hurricane brought cooler temps which made it a perfect weekend for site seeing and spending time outdoors. We spent our last day at Busch Gardens Theme park. Anyone who knows me well, knows I am not a huge fan of parks like that. It’s too crowded, people forget their manners and to me, it’s the biggest display of gluttony on Earth. We managed to find a place in the Ireland section that had healthy salads, which is what I ate for lunch but I was probably one of the few in the entire park that actually chose the healthy option. Every time I go somewhere toursity, it’s a shocking reminder how obese and out of control people are. It makes me angry and sad at the same time. I see obese parents raising kids who are already battling obesity. They will have a harder battle to fight as they grow up already dealing with it.
Obesity is such a serious health issue. I found some Shocking Facts Behind Obesity Infographic that will surely open your eyes to how it affects all of us! Whenever I hear about accepting our bodies – I want to clarify it to be more about kindness, respect and worth. Being overweight affects your health and for your benefit and others – that’s not OK!
As we are in full summer mode, many of us will be exercising and/or attending events to benefit worthy causes. I’m all for giving back, but you have to do your research before you just give. You need to make sure the money you are donating is really going towards the causes you wish to support. We all found out the hard way about the Susan G Komen organization and the millions of dollars going to pay salaries and not helping find a cure for breast cancer. With that in mind, I came across information about the Wounded Warrior Project: Wounded Warriors Project A Legal Scam. If you do support this organization, I ask that you inform yourself on how they operate. Based on this report, they definitely have some inflated salaries and other sketchy operational cost which ultimately means less of the money donated goes to the wounded vets they serve.
- Health & Fitness: Here’s Proof That Exercise Changes Everything
- Life Lessons on Body Image: Sexpot With Stretch Marks
- Life Lessons: 18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who’s Really in Charge of Women’s Bodies
- Nutrition: The 5 Scariest Ingredients In Your Salad Dressing…