Thursday, August 27, 2015

Letting My Son See Me Cry

There are a lot of things that I want to be to my children. How my children see me is important. I want my children to look at me and see a strong woman. I want them to know that I am a fighter. I want them to look at me and be proud. I want them to see a woman who goes after what she wants and is passionate about life. I want my boys to see their mother as determined. I want them to know I will do whatever it takes to make them happy. I do not ever want my children to think I am a sad person. Letting my boys see me cry is something I struggle with.

I strongly believe in expressing feelings and encouraging our children to do the same. There is nothing wrong with crying and I want both my boys to know that. I want them to be able to feel. To allow themselves to express themselves when they are happy or sad. I always tell my four year old, Chase, that it is okay to cry. I don't want my children feeling shamed for their feelings. I want to empower my son's to be comfortable with themselves and to express how they feel, and that includes crying in front of people.

Photo Credited To Wilcloverphotography

As their mother I have a hard time allowing them to see me cry. I know it is okay. I know I should not worry about that. But I do. The other morning something made me disheartened and I sat down and cried. I tried my best to not sound like a sobbing baby yet Chase was aware that I was crying. He asked me what was wrong and why I was sad. I softly told him that it was nothing, that mama was okay. It's not so much the act of crying in front of him, it is explaining to him why I am crying. He's too little to handle certain conversations. He is too small to know the pain that life can hand you. I am not ready for him to have to worry about certain battles he will inevitably face. It is not his place to worry about his mother. This is why I have a hard time letting my son see me cry. It is my job to comfort him, not for him to comfort me.

Crying in front of him does happens. Mommy gets frustrated some days to the point of tears and I don't have enough time to scurry out of the room before my eyes can no longer be a barrier to the inevitable water fall that is about to happen. There are times he has been sad and I can't help but cry along with him. I feel every ounce of his sadness at times and it can be so overwhelming I am unable to control my emotions.

I want my boys to not fear their emotions. I do not want them running from me to hide their pain. What I don't want to hear is the endless toddler cry over nothing at all (you know what I am talking about mama's!) but I do want them to be comfortable with their emotions. I want them to be able to come to me when they need me, a hug or just a good cry. Most of us know a good cry can heal the soul.

I know I need to also allow myself to be free. I need to be me. If I cry, well so be it. I do not need to explain to them what is going on inside mommy. I do need to let them see me as me, and that means in my most dismal moments.

I firmly believe that those moments that make you collapse to the ground, break your heart, or shatter your dreams; those are the moments that build you up. Those moments are teaching, as well as empowering if we allow them to be. Sadness takes on many forms and is different for each person. No one person can be happy every moment of every day. There is enough pressure to be the best mom I can be for my children. There are days filled with mommy guilt, some that are filled feeling like a failure. Crying in font of my children has happened, will happen, and I hope they learn from me.

I hope my children look back and say that their mother was strong, passionate, determined, and that they could always feel my love. I hope they will talk about how I encouraged them to be themselves, to love whomever they wanted, and to feel whatever their hearts feel. I want them to know that despite any sadness, life is truly a beautiful gift. I know that I will always look back at them, thankful for each moment they gave me, because without them I would not be any of these things.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Drinking Crickets, A Tropical Island Boost, And A Visit to The Mediterranean

With fitness and health being two very important things to me I recently became a part of the Sweat Pink Campaign. As an ambassador I was fortunate to be chosen along with other ambassadors to review a Bulu Box.  If you join Bulu Box each month you receive four to five samples of a combination of vitamin, supplement or healthy snack samples. I was excited about receiving my box. The bright orange box arrived with it's inspirational quotes covering it.

I liked these ones:

"Go the extra mile, it's never crowded"

"You can brighten someone else's path with your own light"

"The difference between Try & Triumph is a little "UMPH"

I was pleasantly surprised with the samples in my box. Here is what was included:

Bugeater Foods Jump

Island Boost

Mediterra Bars

More-T Toothbrush

Yerba Prima Daily Fiber Formula

Earth's Care Anti-Itch Cream

The first one I listed is a protein drink that includes crickets! Yes, you read that right. The first ingredient listed in Bugeater Foods Jump is Cricket flour. The flavor was chocolate. I was a bit skeptical yet of coarse I had to try it. I was impressed with how good of a chocolate flavor it had. I mixed mine with coconut milk as I typically do with my protein after a run. It only contains 13g of protein which is lower than I would like yet this would be a good drink as an afternoon snack.

I used the Island Boost on my long run this past Sunday. I typically use GU Energy Gel-Chocolate Outrage as my fuel during a run. Five miles in I pulled out the Island Boost and gave her a chance. This product promises healthy energy without caffeine. The natural ingredients give you a "boost" without having a caffeine crash. I am pretty partial to my GU's yet I did like this product and would consider purchasing this. I felt great on my run and didn't re-fuel until mile ten and honestly could have gone longer.

The Mediterra Bars were Sundried Tomato and Basil. I typically love that flavoring in meals yet there was something I didn't like about it being in a bar. I ate it and even shared a piece with the almost two year old who seemed to like it. It's not something I would want to have again. 

How did Bulu know that I needed a new toothbrush?! This new toothbrush is designed in a T shape to cover more teeth and act as a tongue scraper. I have to admit, this was a nice little bonus.

The Yerba Daily Fiber didn't mix well and I felt it did not have a good orange taste as it promised.

As for the Anti Itch cream I will be holding on to that for the next bug bite or boo boo the kids get. I love that it is made from all natural ingredients. If I am using a product on my children all natural is important to this mama.

With Bulu Box after you have tried the samples, fallen in love with a product, you can buy the full size right on their site. I know when trying a new supplement that I hesitate because what if I don't like it?! This is a great way to try out a product before making that commitment. Bulu Box even gives you chances to earn reward points monthly to use towards a full size purchase. If you like trying new products, are in to health or maybe know someone who might enjoy this as a fun gift, go to Bulu Box and check it out! If you want to save 50 % off a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription use code: SWEATPINK.

So what did I think of my Bulu Box? Honestly I think it's great! Ten Dollars a month to try some new things isn't that bad. Yes, you are paying for your samples but if I were to add up what was in my box and have had paid the ten dollars for it, I figured that I received more in product than the total dollar amount. With the 50 % off code right now that makes it Fifteen Dollars for 3 months. Who doesn't like a good deal and some new goodies?!

Disclaimer: Thank you to Bulu Box for providing me with a box to review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Things That Motivate Me

With my 5TH Half Marathon approaching in less than a month, I had a goal for July to run over 120 miles. June I was under that and I was rather discouraged about it. Towards the end of July my miles were not where I wanted them to be with the wedding and other summer festivities which interfered with my training. It was time to push myself forward and get those miles in. The last week of July into August I manged an eleven day running streak which helped me get to 122 miles logged for July. This month I would like to hit 130 or higher. This is what I do: I set goals and enjoy challenging myself and my body. I want to be faster. I want to be stronger. I want to be healthier. For all this, I need to work for it!

My feet pound the pavement in their own private dance. Running is an intimate thing for me. I realize I share this love with many others. This is part of what I love about the sport. Being a part of a race, looking around at all these awesome athletes and knowing that I am part of their tribe, brings me a sense of euphoria. When I am not running in a race the road becomes my church. Here I am able to release, to feel, and to free myself. My head becomes clear of the clutter and cobwebs that get spun during the day. It is when I am out running by myself that I feel I am able to work on being a better me.

I would be lying to you if I told you every run was great. Some days my legs are heavier than others. There are times that I do have a difficult time connecting with myself out on the roads. A mile can feel like five as some days a ten mile run feels great. My feet are blistered and sore, never seeming to get time in between to heal. Each run is different yet just as important to me as the one before. The days that I don't want to run, or those days that I want to stop in a middle of a run, I dig deep for my motivation.

Motivation comes in many ways to each of us. I am motivated to be an example. I am motivated by my children eager to watch me take off from the porch as I set out for my run. Then when I return, the shrieks of "Mama" as they are running down the driveway when I get back to ask me how my run was. Those little faces, the tiny hands which grab at me, they motivate me. I want to be an example to them. I want to teach them discipline  and determination. I want them to know it takes work to achieve what you want. You have to work for it, and some days you have to fight for it!

I am motivated by the change in my body. The places that were once riddled by cellulite and extra skin have been sculpted and toned into muscles I never once had. Each mile gets me closer to having the body I want. I have several more miles to go before I get there; but I will some day.

I run because it is "me" time. Whether it is five in the morning or five in the evening, I find a way to get out there. I make the time since this is the only time I ever get to truly be alone. This is important for me, for my relationship and as a mother. I am not only working on being a healthier me, I am creating a happier me.

I have made a commitment to myself as well as my family to be the best I can be. I have learned a lot about myself over the past couple of years as I have fallen in love with this sport. I have found out that I am capable of doing things I once thought I couldn't. That I am stronger than I knew. I have learned that you need to have courage and search deep withing yourself. I have learned that we are all brave and fierce.

If you want something bad enough then you need to push yourself. Find what motivates you, go after it and do not let anything get in your way. Create goals and challenge yourself. It may not always be easy but I can promise you this; it is always worth it! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back To The Bus Stop

Last year at this time I was full of emotion as we prepared to send Chase off to Preschool for the first time. He was three and a half and insisted on taking the bus the short half mile to school. I wanted him to be eager, to be brave and to begin his new journey with excitement. Though a part of me felt anxiety about putting this little human being on a bus I still followed through. I won't forget the look on his face as he walked up those bus steps for the first time. He paused to look back at me, a half smile on his face that was shadowed with a slight look of worry. He turned around as I watched him be guided into a bus seat for the very first time. He looked out his window and I waved to him while clutching his brother to me choking back the sobs I knew would rise as soon as that bus drove away. I wouldn't let him see me cry! Then the bus was pulling away from our house and there was the salty tears painting my face as I walked to the front porch to sit in the rocking chair and cry like a baby. His poor brother looking at me quizzically, wondering what the hell was wrong with mama.

Here we are a year later and soon I will be putting him back on that same school bus. I can say that this year there will be no tears. He gets to go one more day this year ( which makes three afternoons a week! Can you tell the excitement in my typing!) and I am just as elated as he is. Don't get me wrong, I love that boy! As summer comes to a close I know that we both need him to go back to school. We have had several "adventures", a trip to Maine, plenty of beach days, park visits, hikes, and digging in the dirt until he is covered from head to toe.

I also have lost my mind several times over screaming, crying, and repeated fighting. My four and a half year old has seemed to turn into a fourteen year old in the past year. He talks back, sasses, and just the other night he called me a word I won't repeat since apparently he learned it from me. (Fine, you win! He called me a "dick"). Given that last detail I know what he needs is to be around other children and stimulated by someone other than me. Apparently mama is lacking in her verbal skills.

The count down begins. Just a couple of weeks and we both will be much happier. We are fortunate that he gets to go to an amazing preschool program. He is in a classroom with a couple different teachers along with a speech therapist. He gets to have active play, they do circle time, art and he is being taught age appropriate things. Once a month each child has to provide a snack for the rest of the classroom and of coarse this is Chase's favorite thing to do. The boy loves food maybe even more than his mama.

He is forming relationships and learning to bond. I love having him with me yet I know that I cannot give him these things. It is not my job to be his teacher. I am his mother. True my title means I give him a strong foundation to build from yet school is where he gets the building blocks he needs to grow. He is given the chance to learn some valuable things in life by being in a school.He gets to meet people who will be a part of the person he is becoming. He will form friendships that he may still hold onto years from now.

At school he is forced to adapt to a new surrounding. He is given structure and allowed to explore. Then at the end of the day, as I wait for the yellow bus to come drop him off, I am eager to see him. I am anxious to pry out of him what he did for the three hours he was away from me. I can't wait to see the excitement on his face and the sound of his voice as we look at the sheet that is sent home on what they did. My heart is happy and full that I have him next to me again. I am filled with pride at what a wonderful little man he is. I hug and kiss him as he swats me away.

Yes, I am eager to send him off to school again. Does that make me a bad mother? I don't believe so. I am being honest as I believe it is a healthy separation for both of us. I am ready to head to the bus stop and wait for him to walk up those stairs that won't look as big for him as they did last year. I am ready to have some one on one time with his brother. I am anxious for some quiet time where I can get some work done, read and maybe even write a little more. I can go for a run with the stroller. I can clean or exercise without fifty interruptions. Then, at the end of the night he will be so exhausted that bedtime will be sweet as cake.

Just a couple more weeks and it's back to the bus stop. YES!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Baking From My Garden: Zucchini Muffins

In my house we love veggies. Even my children are pretty good about eating vegetables. This year we expanded our box gardens and added zucchini to our mix. I was pleasantly surprised how happy they were in their small little home. We have been pulling zucchini's off and I have been happy seasoning them and eating them for lunch. I have been using coconut oil and a few seasonings then baking them in the oven for 15 minutes making a healthy and tasty lunch. I even throw in some Bella mushrooms or tomatoes for taste.

Last night it was time to do some baking with my zucchini. Now that they are coming faster than I can eat them I needed to do something different with them. Instead of zucchini bread that I typically do I decided to make zucchini muffins. I changed the recipe up from what I did last year with my bread and they turned out so good! Even both boys loved them. I attempted to hide them in the cupboard but Chase has gotten good about jumping up on the counters and found them resulting in devouring an extra one.

Here is my recipe:

Zucchini Muffins

3 cups of flour (I used 1/2 white & 1/2 wheat)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon (plus or minus for taste, I like a little extra cinnamon)
3 eggs
1/3 cup of Virgin Coconut Oil
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract 
2 ripe banana's 
1/4 cup of Applesauce 
2 cups of grated zucchini 

Mash two ripe banana's and add in the cinnamon and put aside. I tend to have extra ripe banana's in my freezer. If you don't you can even use a food processor or blender to soften the banana's.

Grate up zucchini. One large zucchini equals approximately 2 cups.

In  large bowl mix eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, applesauce, and banana's.

Once mixed add in your baking soda, baking powder, sugar and flour.

After you have mixed all ingredients together add in your zucchini.

Make sure it is mixed well and add to your muffin pans. Bake at  325 for 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven. Voila! You now have a yummy treat!

These are best right out of the oven though we discovered this morning that they were still soft and delicious for breakfast too!

This mix made 18 large muffins and 12 mini muffins.

Enjoy! Let me know if you like this recipe! Be sure to share them too! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Unique Love; There Is No Favorite Child

I love both my children immensely. My heart swells when I see their faces each morning and I know that I am fortunate to have them. For some reason they chose me to be their mother...those poor things...It is amazing some days that these two boys are brothers. I see similarities in them yet they are very different. Chase is my fire cracker. He is out going, energetic, eager, mischievous, and wild. Wesley on the other hand is laid back, shy, sweet, yet is has little fear. He has no qualms about climbing things and sending me into panic mode. Just as my boys are different, so is my love for them.

Chase is my first born, there is something sacred about that. There will never be another "first". The feelings I felt when I was pregnant to the first time I laid eyes on him are all moments that I will hold dear to me. Out of both of the boys he is most like me. I see it all the time, in things he does as well as the things he says. We can be close one moment then collide the next. I like to whisper in his ear that he is my "Favorite Person". Truth be told, he really is. Even in challenging moments (believe me, lately there have been several of those) I know he is an amazing boy. He may try to dodge my kisses yet he still asks to snuggle and insists on nightly back rubs from either myself or his father.

Then there is Wesley. I was just saying to his father that there is just "something" about him. I feel this connection with him that is very different. I can't say that I can pinpoint exactly what it is. When I was pregnant with Wesley he was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis. I spent half of my pregnancy not having answers and wanting to protect my child. I would lay awake at night and pray for a healthy baby. We were blessed with exactly that though I wonder if going through this with him drew me into him in a way that only I can feel but not explain. He is my "baby" and will always be just that. There is an innocence he possesses which intrigues me. He is a mama's boy; wherever I go he must go. 

No, I do not have a favorite child. My love for my children is equal and continues to grow within me each day. I do feel it is fair to say that my love for both of them is different. As they are both their own unique creatures, so is the love I have for each of them. They both make up parts of me as I make up part of them. It goes beyond our blood, it is deeper than the ocean, and higher than the moon that hangs over their heads. My love for them cannot be measured nor can it be uttered in words that amplify their true meaning.  Each of my boys have my love and it is limitless and unconditional.

I  know as the years go by there will be shifts in both relationships with each boy. I know there will be times that one may be more drawn to me than the other. I also know that there will be times my relationship with one of them may cause a heavy heart. This is life. This is the hard part of parenting and raising little people. We are challenged, we are tested, we are forced to feel things that cause our hearts to ache.

We are also rewarded by the same love. We are given the most incredible gift we could ever receive. Nothing measures the love you share with your child. It is blissful, astounding, alluring, and magnificent. I am blessed to experience two very different and amazing loves.