7.21.2011

silver and gold friendships shine

My college friend, Joanna, recently visited on her vacation. Her act of care and friendship - being she doesn't get too much vacation time and she stopped in and spent a whole night with us - brought up the topic of real friendship and this make-it or break-it time of our lives we're in.

Friends have always been incredibly important to me. Being the social butterfly that I am, a group of good friends is something I will always need. Moving around a lot, I've had to work hard at sustaining the friendships back home and work even harder at making new ones. However, in the last three years, so many "good" friends fell through the cracks making it clear who my real friends are.

I've had the chance to catch up with a few close high school or college friends lately and the questions always come up regarding how so-and-so is or if I've heard from this or that person.

It is clear that the mid-twenties brings about a real crucial time in which true friendships will shine and the others will fade. Your group of friends no longer has the same list of priorities revolving around school work, part-time jobs and dance practice. Half of them are married, having children, some are working hard in their careers and a group are still bar hoping and going to school. 

But difference in priorities isn't the only reason why some old friends are disappearing because I have a few great friends that while they have a totally different lifestyle, they still show care, curiosity and an understanding and support of my lifestyle.

I would argue that for many, the mid-twenties also brings about a knowledge of who you are as a person. At age 23 I seemed to have my "aha" moment. I had done the things I thought I wanted to do and out of surprise, didn't like them. My hopes, morals and standards became clear. 

Some I used to call friends stopped calling or caring maybe because of different priorities or maybe because they didn't like the person I decided to become. Maybe I stopped calling them because of their choices.

While the large group of friends I had a few years ago has now dwindled into a small group of old and new, the relationships are so much deeper and appreciated. I just want to bottle them up and put them on the top shelf for safe keeping. 

Distance, families, jobs and all the other things that make our lives crazy can make friendships a challenge to keep going. With all the other things going on in our lives, making an effort to call, send a card or visit really shines through. The ones that seem too busy for you (even though you are just as busy), fall through the crack. A one handed effort is not a "friendship." 

Some of the ones I thought I wouldn't talk to after high school have now become incredibly special. They call, they care and they make an equal effort. It has been amazing to me who I am still close with and who I don't talk to anymore. And the new ones I have made, feel just like the really good old ones.

One having close friendships has been scientifically linked to a happier life and a longer life. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold." 

Treat your friends like the treasure that they are. Amidst the hectic schedules that we have or the distance in between, make time for those ones that have stayed by your side and the new ones that are blooming. 

7.19.2011

to the attic

Recently, I decided to start saving my Vogue magazines for Audrey when she is older. That got me thinking. What else should I be saving for her? 

My mom had an awesome collection of memorabilia and saved goods. The prom and bridesmaid dresses served for many play dress up occasions and Halloween's (80's dresses were a little scary). Her collection of records was pretty epic, and now as I get older, I appreciate all the family heirlooms she has kept from generations and generations ago. She also saved my sister and my baby books and toys, our Barbie dolls, movies and probably every report card, picture drawn and essay.

So, what do I save for Audrey? Here are a few thoughts: 

1. Magazines. My thoughts on Vogue is a whole other blog, but the magazine that has served as this other dreamy world of couture fashion, art and lifestyles is also at an important moment with the maker of high fashion Grace Coddington being 70-years-old and ruler of the world, Anna Wintour, being 62. I imagine when Audrey is old enough to care, they won't be there.

2. Clothes. Fashion does repeat itself, so maybe those very chic items I am growing out of now, she will appreciate when she is older. The leather jacket, the tiny and tight black dress, those boots I went everywhere in during college...Maybe those will save my coolness factor later.

3. Blogs/Articles. I've been saving all my published newspaper articles that mostly have to do with Audrey and should probably get on printing and storing the blogs as well. My suggestion, even if you are not publishing, write down the memorable stories, moments and feelings of motherhood. When you get older, the stories will change - so better to write them down fresh. Already, I look back at when I cut Audrey's thumb and was crying hysterically. I kind of laugh now at the fuss I made (and she didn't).

4. Music. Now that most music is stored on the computer and iPod, I'm going to need to transfer some classics to CD for her. I'm sure she'll appreciate all my Britney Spears albums!

Have more ideas? Comment below!

7.18.2011

sharing some Peas

I am a fan of the wonderful Peas & Crayons site. I love the healthy, creative recipes for baby & the rest of the family.

7.17.2011

from baby weight to better body


There are a small percentage of women who return back to their Barbie-doll size clothing right after giving birth. Those same women never had to buy maternity jeans – they squeezed into those size zeros and cinched them up with a rubber band and a nine-month-pregnant belly. God blessed them.  

I was not one of those women. I gained 38 pounds, and no matter how many times people told me that it was all in my belly, I knew they were lying. I was just short of a beached whale. 

I was discouraged when mothers would tell me, “Your body will never be the same!” They were right, but to never be the same in a good way.

Whether you have a baby, teenagers or just a cat and still have “baby weight,” I’m here to tell you that you can get your old or even better, healthier body back without dieting. I’ve lost more than 45 pounds, putting me fifteen pounds lighter than before I got pregnant and nearly two sizes smaller than my wedding day, and I’m still going.  

I started running again when Audrey was a few weeks old. Hoping the weight would just fall off, it didn’t. It isn’t cute anymore when you still have a baby bump, but the baby is in your arms. After I finished breastfeeding, I tried drastic diets like no-carbs, HCG and a number of other unhealthy and expensive diets that led to a fast drop in weight which came right back.  

While I wanted a quick-fix, I realized from years of struggling with my weight that there is a reason why they call them “yo-yo diets.” I needed a lifestyle change, a real plan that allowed me to eat what I wanted, have a glass of wine and still lose weight. Was I dreaming? 

I then picked up the book “Reshaping It All” by my favorite child star, Full House’s Candace Cameron Bure. She popped out three kiddos and is now smaller than her DJ days. Within the first few paragraphs into her book, it clicked. All this time I was desiring the wrong thing and using the wrong tools to get there. 

Since then, the weight has been coming off and I will never have to Google search “celebrity diets” again. But mostly, these tools I’ve learned have changed my faith, attitude toward food, inner and outer strength and my ability to be the woman, mother and wife that I was meant to be. 

Don’t go fast, go far
I never wanted to burden God with my weight issues. I thought it was incredibly selfish to ask God to be skinny when there are so many bigger problems in the world to pray about. But then it occurred to me that being skinny wasn’t going to make me happy, I wanted to be healthy and have confidence. God would be my trainer in my reshaping journey. You can let yourself down, but God will not. 

That changed it all for me because no longer did I have fear that I would fail, gain weight or lose the confidence I was building. I have complete faith that I can accomplish whatever I set forth. However, no fancy pill or packaged diet space food was going to do it. I had to go old school: exercise, portion control, and an understanding of discipline and patience that I had never known before.

It seems easier said than done, and I’m not going to lie that my secret to a healthier post-baby body is hard. But, what it creates is a lifestyle change – not a temporary weight loss. 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11, NIV)

Discipline: that was the tool I needed to succeed in exercising consistently, making wise food choices and eating smaller portions. As Bure says in her book, “We chose to sprint rather than train for the long run.” 

I had been sprinting this whole time and it is the sprint that makes you tired fast. Sprinting is the diet that you go all out on for three weeks, but then give into that piece of pizza and before you know it, you tell yourself you’ll start again tomorrow and have a few more slices. 

Training for the long run will keep you going and change your old ways. With training, your stomach will be full after half of what you normally would eat and you will actually listen when your mind tells you that you’re done. 

Yes, it is painful in the beginning and requires control, but boy does it make it worth it since you can enjoy all the foods you love just with some moderation.  

Training also means patience. You can’t just get up and go run a half marathon if you’ve never ran. It is a slow build relying on your perseverance to just push it a little farther each time to reach the ultimate goal. Put patience into your weight goals. 

Setting goals are great and can really keep you motivated, but change them up. Instead of telling yourself you will lose ten pounds by the end of the month, try to run a mile farther, walk all the way up that hill or drink twice the amount of water. 

Remember, this is a lifestyle change. You’ve got all the time you need to keep perfecting your choices and seeing what works for your body and schedule. Having patience allows for small slip-ups, which you know you’ll make, but the ability to get right back on track immediately, not in the morning.  

This is the hardest part to a successful body change: a mind change. Having faith and giving your weight issue to God, learning discipline, and accepting the long run, time and patience will start not only reshaping your body, but your life.  

Quick Tips 
.......
Switch your soda or juice to water.
Make yourself your normal size dinner and then immediately wrap half of it and put it in the fridge. If you’re still hungry, go back and get the other half. Not having the warm, available, large portions or leftovers will keep you from eating more than you should.
Do an activity everyday even if it is a short walk, crunches, bouncing baby on your knee or a summer swim.
Remove, “I’ll start again tomorrow,” from your vocabulary. You’re allowed to indulge in small treats now and then, but one gorge forgoes all your discipline training.
Practice saying “no” to an unhealthy choice; training in that will make it quickly come naturally. 


I would be the whale in the middle. "Make room for me!" Engulfed by my skinny high school girls.
May 2011

 
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