Parenting/Family

18 years, 18 years…

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18th wedding anniversaryThis was waiting for me on my Facebook wall when I got into the office this morning by Scotty –

“Remember our 18 year anniversary? We had to cancel our dinner reservations because we forgot you had to take our daughter to that annoying teen show/concert thing. Do you recall how both of our kids were sick, coughing up lungs and leaving tissues all over the house for the dog to get? How about battling with the kids over the dishes even though it would be easier for us to just do them, but we don’t because we are teaching the kids responsibility? How we ran errands separately so we can divide an conquer? Remember how I sang “Girl you don’t need makeup” to you, and you stopped me saying that the song is not actually a nice thing, and then you sang Kanya “18 years 18 years..” and I stopped you reminding you how that one isn’t appropriate either? Happy Anniversary – I can’t imagine taking on the world with anyone else and still have as much fun as we do. I love you and can’t wait to see you after work… after I run errands to get the kid’s meds and whatever else you remind me that I forgot to do.”

True to my personality, I added…

“remember how I said I wouldn’t be mad at you at all today — and then I got mad at you. And how i forced you to take a selfie?”

I don’t have any special magical advice to share about marriage. It’s a lot of work, there are peaks and valleys. We do genuinely like each other as well as love each other. We laugh a lot. We treat each other with respect, even when we are angry (which does happen). We like hanging out together. Above all else though, we are committed to one another. It’s us – in it together.

Marriage

The Magic You Were Born With

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PinkI was trying to figure out what really bothered me about the latest Kim Kardashian instagram image.  It’s her body, so what do I care if she wants to show it to the world. But yet, it still bothered me. Then I read something posted by Pink today on Twitter that captured what I was feeling:

“Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their talent, their ‘magic’ that they were born with, that only they possess. It may not ever bring you as much ‘attention’ or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses, but women like you don’t need that kind of attention. In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from attention, you will feel something called pride and self respect.” -Pink

It is absolutely her right to show her body off and be proud. I just can’t help but think about what happens when her ‘looks’ stop getting her attention. What happens then? More plastic surgery, treatments, perfect lighting to keep up the facade? I would imagine that when your fame and career all stem from how you look – you get wrapped up and it consumes you.

Pink QuoteWhen I saw her IG posts, I didn’t stop and say oh, i wish I was just like her. Quite the opposite actually, It bothered me. It felt cheap, unnecessary and an over the top cry for attention.  It also angered me – my teen daughter sees images like that all over the place now and in her still forming mind, she begins to think that’s worthy of attention and worthy of emulation.

It makes parenting that much harder…

Read this

Hard Exercise Can Boost Brain Chemicals Sapped by Depression

Be Inspired

Its never too late to start chasing dreams.

 

Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone in 2016

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Here we are in December, weeks away from the New Year and the beginning of winter. Colder weather, darker days, a lot of stress for some trying to survive the holiday season.

Move out of your comfort zoneFor me, it can be the perfect recipe for losing motivation and momentum – if you let it.  I used to think that this time of year and into early January, when all the gyms are full and people start creating New Year’s resolutions, was the time for renewed inspiration. I find myself starting to feel the pull of the warm bed in the early morning and find myself staring at the clock during some of my workouts wondering how much longer I have until it’s done.

It’s a good thing to recognize because as someone who loves working out – the feeling of a good sweat and the feeling of strength that comes with a great workout. There’s nothing like it, I can’t imagine drifting away from this lifestyle – but it becomes more chore-like if I don’t continue to challenge myself by trying new things or switching things up.

So – for those who are active on the regular and reliably focused on leading a healthy lifestyle – I challenge you to switch things up in the upcoming year. If you find something you love already – great – keep it up but also try a few new things to spice things up. Try a new class – ZUMBA anyone??  Try weight lifting, try Barre. Get outside of your comfort zone — your body and mind will actually benefit from it!

Read This

Watch This

Star Wars Kraft Macaroni & Cheese “Can’t Play”

Be Inspired

You are a work in progress

History Does Indeed Repeat Itself

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The US Is a Melting PotI’ve been following the recent controversy around accepting refugees into our country. Our country was created by people fleeing oppression and it continues to flourish by all of us who make up this glorious melting pot.

History repeats itself – I shared a recent article about groups of people not wanting to accept Jewish refugees fleeing from Germany during WWII and we all know what happened there.

With the explosion of digital information there are groups of people who are taking advantage of situations like the terror in Paris to instill the fear of fear in people world wide. In this NYT editorial, Fearing Fear Itself, Paul Krugman makes the interesting point,  “the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire.”  

“The world would be a whole lot safer if people would stop caring about politics and start caring about people.”  – a friend on facebook

It also goes along with the sensitivity of society lately. Disruption, thinking differently, being better at something or inadvertently saying something stupid – any and all of the above can produce responses that seem unfit for the situation.

Here are just a few examples I’ve seen lately…

Online, people can’t make an off color joke (intentionally or unintentionally) without it becoming a big ordeal, causing an uproar, a boycott or producing a verbal lashing. What used to happen?  We would think to ourselves or even say out loud “oh that person is an asshole” and we moved on.

Kids and sports.  My son and I were not that thrilled that he received a ‘participation’ trophy for playing flag football this Fall.  All I did was pay to have him on a team and he got a trophy at the end of the season. That is not trophy worthy in my book and as it turned out, it wasn’t trophy worthy in his book either.

I think all of this ultra-sensitivity is causing people to be less kind, more risk averse, and too careful -which seems to be the sentiment in this email my brother sent to me today (copied below). I obviously did not write it. It was one of those long, forwarded, you don’t know who really wrote it, emails, but it resonated with me because I do think we as a world are becoming more and more sensitive and less tolerant than is good for us.

being a 1970s kidTO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes..

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside playing…that’s why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. –And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broken bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas..

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1975, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it ?

Goodbye to a Friend: Life is Too Short

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This weekend I attended the memorial service, well, it really was a celebration of life, for my friend Niki. A group of her local DC friends gathered in a church basement behind the Nation’s Capital to connect and share the joy that was Niki Mitchell.

Niki was a writer, a published author, The New Color of Success: Twenty Young Black Millionaires Tell You how They’re Making it, and a masterful PR executive with a wicked sense of humor, wit and passion. It was clear if you knew her and if you didn’t, all you had to do was be in this room this weekend. Her friends and family are a collection of amazing, talented, funny people.

The celebration of her life was full of stories told by the people who knew her best – the ones she loved, she worked with and shared with. We laughed a lot during the afternoon as we remembered her. We cried about the void her unexpected passing has left. We comforted one another as we said goodbye. She will never be forgotten by anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Her childhood friend, who literally knew Niki her whole life, shared all the phases of Niki’s life – childhood, young student, writer, wife, mother. One thing she did share was a few weeks before Niki’s unexpected passing, they spoke about taking better care of themselves. She said she had noticed that Niki was not taking care of herself. She was so busy taking care of everyone else around her – she was neglecting her own wellness.  It’s a reminder to us all – take care of yourself first -mentally and physically- so you can take care of others around you.

Closing out the celebration, her business partner spoke about ways you can tell you lived a good life. Niki checked all the boxes and even though she left too soon, her life made a difference. His words reminded me of a favorite quote: In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

Its not the life in your years, its the years in your life.

On the drive home, Scotty and I talked about how this type of remembrance is how we would want to celebrated. I want a celebration of my life that included laughing, eating good food and as I shared with Scotty, dancing! Everyone will need to bust a move in my memory!  I want people to say their goodbyes in the spirit of who I am.

The rest of the weekend, I was mindful, evaluating where I am, where I want to be and who I am around. Life is too short to be around people who suck the happiness out of you. It’s cliche but true — life is way too short to waste time with fools and to worry about stupid little things that at the end of day, don’t matter.

 

Life is Short Quotes download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifes-Too-Short-Inspirational-Life-Quotes

Toxic Family: Are You Obligated To Help?

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I’ve been dealing with some heavy shit the past few weeks and it’s been hard.

I have an older family member who has been asking/expecting financial help to live because for years, he and his wife did nothing to prepare for their retirement and lived at a level that was well above their income. Not to mention, they were less than stellar family members and did little to help others voluntarily throughout the years.

Should you help everyone in your family just because they are family?

I keep hearing because they are my family as the reason why I should ‘do the right thing’ and pitch in but thinking about that brings up more questions for me…

  • Where is this rule written?
  • Why did they not have to follow it when others needed help?
  • Am I a bad person if I choose to not help?
  • Do I have to help because others in my family will be burdened and I should share the burden?

What I think bothers me more as my family starts to figure out how to offer help together is the lack of any sort of real understanding or care about the impact their ask has. It affects our ability to pay down our own debts, save for our children’s college and put away for when our retirement comes.  All things they never did as they lived a high stylin’ life.  When you don’t have any extra money, you have to change your standard of living – you can’t shop at high end stores or get fancy cars with a high monthly payments.  It’s been their problem all along –they don’t grasp the concept of having to lower their standard of living.

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

The worst part of having to figure out how to help them is the bubbling up of old buried family issues. Maybe we need to celebrate Festivus – and air our grievances! Things that you thought were way behind you come to the surface with each back and forth.  Their apparent lack of understanding or taking responsibility for their situation and their combative responses to any sort of inquiry into what’s really going on with them financially and physically literally brings me back to my teens and early 20’s when I was dealing with them more regularly. It’s a huge reason why I keep them at a far distance from my every day life – they are not healthy people.

Is there a way I can help, whereas it does not play into their unhealthy lifestyle but also does not cause me to revisit old family crap? That’s the question really – I try to focus on being kind to everyone but I am not willing to do it to the point where it burns me. No way…

Every family has stuff to deal with — good and bad. I am certainly not the first person out there who has had to deal with mooching family members. It’s causing me to turn in emotionally and I am finding it hard to be inspired and motivated to share like I used to. It’s a very sad situation and while I certainly want to help if I can – I’m not sure I can without causing myself inner turmoil.

When Parents Are Too Toxic to Tolerate

Toxic parents. How to know when it’s time to let go.

School Dress Codes: Are They Out of Control?

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Dress Code I think this whole appropriate attire issue is getting out of control. My daughter is now constantly questioning what she can and can’t wear as she gets ready for school- instead of worrying about learning. Pencil skirts are NOT ok because it outlines the butt, and skirts have to be a certain length, leggings can’t be worn without a long shirt…. the list goes on and on.  It’s getting out of control – It’s now a distraction to her and me.  Are we really at a point where young men can’t control their thoughts and actions if a classmate is wearing yoga pants?  If that’s the case – it’s bigger issue than just the clothing being ‘suggestive’.

Teens Are Fighting Sexist Dress Codes With This Brilliant Hashtag

And it doesn’t stop there — rules that ban innocuous super heroes because they are categorized as violent super heroes…  School Reportedly Bans Girl’s ‘Wonder Woman’ Lunchbox

We are creating an environment with too much padding and expecting it to stop what ails the world.  It’s not yoga pants and Wonder Woman lunch boxes that’s the problem. It’s this pervasive culture of putting the responsibility on the female to keep it all in check as opposed to teaching both boys and girls how to treat one another with mutual respect.

And it’s happening in schools all over the country — bare shoulders are against the rules in some schools. How the heck is a shoulder distracting to someone??

Ridi School Dress CodesSchool dress codes spark wardrobe wars: How to handle it with your kids

Do school dress codes unfairly target girls?

Even this summer, HB attended an amazing camp but the rules stated the girls had to wear one piece suits or wear a shirt over their bikini –but the boys were able to wear just their swim trunks. When I went to pick up my daughter, it was one of the first things she told me about — and asked how come the boys didn’t have these sorts of rules?

It’s a good question –

#IAMMORETHANADISTRACTION

Time Flies: An Abrupt Wake Up Call

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I have had a series of recent light bulb experiences that have thrown me for a loop and served me a helping of reality…

Ack! My Parents Are Getting Old

I have 4 brothers and sisters and we have a half sister that is quite a bit younger. My Dad has been married to her mother since I was 6 – so a very long time. Since the early 90’s, my dad and step mother have lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Their health is failing and they have had serious financial setbacks for a myriad of reasons that I won’t go into. The bottom line is they can’t afford to stay in the Phoenix area and none of the family lives nearby. So, they decided to move to Ohio to be closer to their daughter, my half sister and they arrived there last week.

Seeing pictures of them during their drive out to Ohio shocked me. You know how you have this vision of your parents? Well, my vision didn’t match what I saw and it was a jolting reminder that time marches on and my parents are aging. Scott and I are very lucky to have both sets of parents still around – but health problems are starting to creep up and the unstoppable hands of time are spinning.

Seeing them look so frail, was a great reminder to me why taking care of my health and wellness while I am young is important. Exercise, eating healthy and maintaining a positive attitude towards any situation will go far as you age. Trust me on that one! Seeing the differences in how my parents are aging based on their life outlook and how they have taken care of themselves has been very educational for me. It’s night and day.

Oh No! I’m Feeling My Age

Brittany Marklin Britt’s wedding this past weekend was beyond lovely.  Not sure if I have mentioned, but Britt is a bit younger than me – and hence, the wedding crowd was young. It was one of those experiences where I felt old. Not old enough to be a granny or anything, but old in the sense that I really didn’t want to ‘hang’ out. It’s not a bad thing  — the wedding guests were nice but I don’t enjoy drinking and getting shit faced and it takes me forever to recover!

On top of feeling old at the wedding, yesterday, my tween daughter sent me pics her friend took of her (included below). Talk about feeling my age – she looks so grown up. How the heck did my little baby become a young woman? And to boot, she is about an inch or less away from being taller than me. She just seems so grown up.

It’s inevitable-we age, grow up, become adults, get old and eventually we will pass. The reminders this past week have left me feeling somewhat blah and melancholy about things around me.  I will get out of my funk but it was an abrupt wake up call…

Life is short.
Act with good intentions.
Say what you need to say to those you care most about.
Cherish the moments.
Be Kind.
Laugh a lot.
Spread Love

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Grab Some Popcorn and Watch

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I’ve been quiet on here the past week or so. Nothing really going on and nothing to really inspire me to write and as I have always said – if it has to be forced, then it’s not right.

Brittany I’m about to head out of town to see a dear friend of mine get married. Brittany was my intern at K12 years ago, and then we hired her and she worked for me for a few more years. Have you ever met someone and you just clicked with them right away? That was me and Britt Britt. I instantly felt connected to her and we have always had each other’s back. At K12, in our department, that was really important since it was such a cut throat/mean environment with everyone trying to one up everyone else. Looking back now, the best thing about working there was Brittany.  She lives far away now which bums me out but I love that girl —

Have you noticed lately that it seems people seem to be over sensitive and over reactive about everything lately? I get some of the bigger issues but someone says an off color joke or makes an ignorant comment and the internet explodes. What happened to saying “Hey that person is an asshole” and moving on. Nowadays people rally together and the media grabs hold and before you know it -that person has been financially or publicly ruined or at least shamed. We all say stupid shit — some more than others and it’s not a crime. We are a free country and free to think and believe what we want to believe. When a celebrity says something super stupid – I don’t feel the need to publicly shame them. I just think to myself –well, they are out of touch, spoiled asshats and I move on. I may or may not buy their records, or give my money to their causes or movies. That’s my choice but it is still a free country isn’t it and we are FREE to say stupid comments without fear of what will happen publicly.

Grab some popcorn One of my favorite sayings is Grab some popcorn and watch what happens…

I have found asshat people tend to be their own worst enemy. Ultimately they will bring themselves down. Maybe you have a co-worker that is lazy and arrogant. Sit back and watch him hang himself. It may take time but it will happen. Same goes for mean spirited, nasty people. You don’t need to help them, they do the job themselves.

Read This

Is your kid athletic? Do they ride a skateboard or bike? Both of you read this article: Teen fights for his life after skateboard crash 

“Robin wants everyone to remember this: “It doesn’t matter how old you are … you’d be a lot cooler if you wore a helmet instead of putting your family and friends and loved ones through this.”

Robin said she did not push him to wear his helmet because she wanted to be the cool mom, and she does not want anyone else to feel the heartache she does.”

I’m sure we have all been there – and made exceptions to rules that we know are in place for our kid’s safety. Some are more dangerous than others. Never compromise on them wearing a helmet!

The Bonds of Fitness

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Lidia Beer - CrossFit MastersI hit up a boxing class last night and then headed to Ashburn CrossFit this morning to workout with a dear friend I havent seen in over five years. I have written about Lidia previously and what an inspiration and kickass chick she is. It’s one of the greatest things about finding my fitness passion – meeting and bonding with the most amazing people.  Many of them have become very dear to me and even though I don’t see them regularly, they continue to inspire me and motivate me to be better than I was yesterday. I mean – come on now, these are strong, bad ass chicks. If I let myself go to pot after all this time – I think they would kick my ass. Not only are they amazing people – they help keep me accountable. It’s a win that keeps on giving…

As you probably know, I don’t do CrossFit regularly anymore.  The change was brought on partially by burn out. I was not getting the joy or seeing the results I used to from CrossFit. I also felt that my body wasn’t recovering like it used to which was causing me to not have as much fun while I was there. My shoulders weren’t healing either because of the constant stress on them. It’s only been since I stopped completely, have I regained range of motion in my right shoulder.

It is nice to revisit CrossFit every now and again and today it was quite a workout – a chipper.

Ashburn CrossFit In CrossFit, a chipper is usually a combo of 5 to 10 exercises designed to push metabolic conditioning. This morning’s chipper looked like this…

  • 50 Wall Balls (20/14)
  • 40 Push Ups
  • 30 Medball Cleans (20/14)
  • 20 Burpees
  • 10 Pull Ups
  • 20 Burpees
  • 30 Medball Cleans
  • 40 Push Ups
  • 50 Wall Balls
    (20 min cap)

I chose to do it with a 10# med ball and finished at 19:37.  Yeah, Ouch. I am  now at work and the soreness is creeping in. It hurts just to walk.  I don’t know why, but it always surprises me at how sore I get when I switch up workouts even though I workout all the time!

I have to admit it was a great way to start my day. A group of strong ladies, a lot of laughs and creating a sweat festival.

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As a final sign off on today’s post – I want to wish my smart, sassy and super adorable niece Amelia a Happy Birthday. I wish I lived closer so I could be in her life more, but here I am living in ‘Grassyland’ (that’s what she calls Virginia bc we have a lot of grass and San Fran does not).

I love her to the moon and back…

Amelia _Birthday

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