great moments in family vacationing

We took our first real family trip in July, and spent a week in Maui.

It was beautiful. It was enchanting.

It was relaxing…with a heavy dose of kiddo juggling, misaligned nap schedules and being those people with small children on a six-hour flight.

I could tell you about all the beautiful places we visited, or amazing meals we ate.

I could go on and on about the gorgeous beaches and wildlife surrounding us at every turn.

Or, I could share a few absolutely ridiculous moments that really added some flair to our adventure.

  1. When our flight was descending into Maui, there was a fair amount of bouncing just before we landed. It wasn’t exactly turbulence, but more of a roller coaster feel, where you can feel your stomach rising and falling. Most of us have experienced this; my three-year-old, however, was baffled by this funny new sensation, and had a hard time describing it. So, at the top of her lungs to an entirely silent flight, she proclaimed, “WHEN WE GO FORWARD LIKE THIS IT TICKLES MY VAGINA!” And my husband partially died inside. I mean, you are supposed to teach children the proper names of their body parts.
  2. On the same flight, we let Lila play with slime, which effectively occupied her for quite some time. Until she rolled it on her pant legs and we learned that slime does not come off of clothes and sometimes you just have to rock the hot-pink-slime-on-your-jeans look because mom didn’t pack extra clothes in the carry on.
  3. Lesson learned: when you rent a car online and it says “Suburban-like vehicle” that does not mean you have reserved a Suburban or anything like it. It just means that Avis heard your request and may or may not give you the size and type of car you need and will act really superficially sad about it but not actually resolve the situation.
  4. One day we spent a lovely morning at a local aquarium, but by the time a few hours had passed we were hot and sticky and very ready to go. As I got Maya out of her stroller I noticed that she had shoplifted a large container of body butter off the gift shop shelves, and contentedly gnawed through its wrapping.
  5. The house we rented was extremely accommodating, and shared that they had a Pack N Play, high chair and stroller available for us to use. Shame on us for not asking for details, because when we put Maya to bed the first night, we realized it was a travel size Pack N Play, for infants. About the size of our microwave. She somehow made it work, but it was a little cozier than expected.
  6. And along the same lines, there was indeed a stroller, but it was a cheap piece of crap umbrella stroller that handled about as well as a wheel barrow. On our last night we happened to notice the other, BRAND NEW designer stroller sitting right upstairs, that we could have been using all week.
  7. We made the magical drive up to Haleakala National Park to visit the dormant volcano crater. Drive up = beautiful trek through the clouds. Drive down = so that’s what it feels like to be carsick. So. Many. Switchbacks. Side note to all my Moana fans, legend has it that Haleakala is where demigod Maui lassoed the sun. He’s real.
  8. On the Road to Hana, we stopped for a short hike, after which we rewarded ourselves with fresh pineapple popsicles. We thought giving one to the teething one-year-old was a good idea. And it was, until we realized the sticks were pieces of sugar cane and a total choking hazard. So I then climbed into the backseat of a moving car on a winding road to extricate said choking hazard.
  9. While on the aforementioned hike, Lila had to go potty and the only option was porto-potties. This did not go over well. “THESE POTTIES ARE DISGUSTING. WHY IS THERE POOP IN THERE? WHY DID NO ONE FLUSH THEIR POOP AWAY?” So, we held it until we reached a more hygienic alternative.
  10. Take the redeye home, they said. Your children will sleep, they said. Well, ours didn’t. Lila managed to stay awake the entire time except for about a half hour. Maya was up every 10 minutes when a noise or bright light interfered with her slumber. We had our first family all-nighter!

Awkward moments aside, this was an incredible trip. Once I never would’ve taken without my husband and brother encouraging me forcing me out of my comfort zone. And I’ll treasure ALL the memories – good, bad and somewhat silly.

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There is No such thing as other people’s children.

Originally posted by Glennon Doyle / Momastery

“you have to understand
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land”
HOME by Warsan Shire 

“I do not understand how people refuse to understand.
Why do we feel more worthy of safety because we were born on the right side of an imaginary line?

We are people born on third base convinced we hit a triple –while folks outside the ball park starve. We ask them to stop trying to get their children inside for food and shelter. We tell them — we tell parents — to let their children die and stop bothering us about It. When they refuse: We take their children.

America is an experiment and we are failing.

We are repeating our history – we took babies from African mamas and we took them from Native American mamas and we took them from Japanese mamas. This is who we have been. And it’s going to take those of us who believe in Making America Great For Once to keep showing up, to refuse to go numb — to refuse to look away until those babies are out of those cages and back in their parents’ arms. Love will win but only if we refuse to give up.

There is No such thing as other people’s children. Together Rising is still collecting for lawyers and social workers for detained children. Go to Momastery to see our detailed transparent work. Every penny we receive goes toward advocacy for and reunification of these families. Give your tax-deductible gift here https://app.mobilecause.com/f/tyb/n

A super-long post about exercise and eating

In January I started a 13-week fitness and nutrition program called 80 Day Obsession. I’m a huge fan of the trainer who created it and loved her prior programs, so I was pretty jazzed about this one. Especially because its unique design was not for weight loss, but for muscle gain and definition.

I’m one of those people who genuinely enjoys working out and eating a fairly clean diet, but this program was pretty different for me, for two reasons.

  • First, most of the six weekly workouts I’d be doing were an hour long, whereas I usually stick to 30-minute workouts.
  • And second, the nutrition component involved timed nutrition (basically, eating certain amounts of specific types of foods together, at set intervals. That second part definitely took some getting used to, because it required a lot more planning and thinking ahead for each meal.
  • And did I mention there are 80 unique workouts in this program? Yeah. You never do the exact same one twice. Chew on that.

To quickly summarize, weeks one and two were difficult for me. I felt moody, hungry and tired pretty much all the time. I also wasn’t sleeping much because #motherhood. In week three I switched from evening to morning workouts and started feeling incredibly good.! I was seeing physical changes and felt focused and energized. I bumped up brackets in my eating plan (read: more food) and was no longer very hungry in between meals. Things were looking up.

Weeks four through six were good, and I stayed super consistent with the timed eating, although I felt bored with most of my meals (disclaimer: there are TONS of things you can eat and recipes to enjoy while sticking to this program, but I work fulltime and have two young kiddos and the energy for that just wasn’t there). I was getting sort of grossed out by eating so many eggs and so much more meat than I typically do (disclaimer #2: there is a vegan option for this program, I just didn’t feel it was for me).

Starting in week seven I still followed the timed nutrition, but found myself cheating a bit between meals and reaching for sweets. Doing this during Girl Scout cookie season was not wise.

In week eight I found myself really disliking the timed nutrition. I was just over it. Not that it was that difficult or restrictive, I just started to recognize that it wasn’t a good fit for me and my relationship with food. I was bored and sick of having to plan so much. Basically, the more I had to focus on what I needed to eat, the more I wanted to shove candy bars and marshmallows in my face. This is exactly why I’ve always preached about balanced eating…because the all-or-nothing approaches make me resent something (healthy eating) that I typically love and embrace.

As the program concluded, I did see impressive physical changes, with lots of lost inches and a huge increase in my strength and endurance. I hadn’t pushed myself this hard physically in years.

I also did a lot of thinking and came to these conclusions:

  1. Three months of timed nutrition and 100 percent clean eating firmly solidified my deep love for wine, baked goods and chocolate. These things make me happy. They are not bad or forbidden. And they cannot be ignored. I love these things and don’t care if they contain grains and sugar and didn’t exist in the paleolithic era. Sucks for dinosaurs.
  2. I don’t feel as well on a diet high in animal protein. I don’t really like meat and I never crave it. Eggs are ok, but in moderation. I mean, when you think about where they come from…it’s sort of filthy. I’ve read a lot about eating for your blood type, and know that I’m predisposed to not respond well to animal proteins, so this isn’t shocking.
  3. Before this program, my portions had gotten a bit out of whack. This program taught me how much I needed to eat to actually feel full, and how much better I felt when I spaced my protein and carbs out more throughout the day.
  4. I WANT something sweet after every.single.meal. I don’t NEED something sweet after every.single.meal.
  5. I love vegetables and they can be a great main course, not just a side or a snack.
  6. I don’t like regimented approaches to eating, no matter how long they last or what they’re designed to do. I get that for a lot of people these plans work as a reset or pseudo detox but I definitely do better when I stick to smart choices and portion sizes but don’t have to overthink it. LITERALLY every female I know struggles with some sort of food or eating issue, and we can blame society or fashion magazines but the fact is, this really sucks, and if there’s something you’re doing that triggers bad feelings or behaviors, stop. Don’t do it. Accept that it’s not a failure but a sign to do things differently.
  7. I was not pushing myself nearly hard enough in my workouts leading up to this. I was seven months post-partum and was using that as an excuse to just coast and fit in exercise in when I had time. This program challenged the hell out of me physically. Never before had I felt such muscle fatigue or had to push myself mentally this way during workouts. I feel awesome and stronger than I have in years.
  8. I can do hard things. Like get 4 hours of sleep with a sick baby, and still wake up at 5, work out, stick to timed nutrition and work all day. I can do it because I made a choice to do it, and I had a ton of support (Jim, my friends, my accountability group, and daily interactions with an online group of other health coaches and the program creator).
  9. I like when my daughters see me working out and eating healthy foods. It gives me an opportunity to talk about being strong and healthy. Not only does it show them that I value taking care of myself, and that some small chunks of time are for me to fill my own cup.
  10. Weight looks different on everyone, and the same person can look very different at the same weight, depending on their amount of muscle. I’ve seen people complete this program who look NIGHT AND DAY different, and lost tons of inches, but not ONE POUND. My weight went up and down throughout the program, ending just about exactly where I started, but I did see a big difference in how my body composition changed, and dropped into smaller clothing sizes by the mid-way point. Moral of the story? Sometimes that mythical “goal weight” isn’t where you’ll look or feel the best.

Would I do this again?

Probably not. It was a good experience and I learned a lot and gained so much strength, but the strict eating structure isn’t for me. And that’s totally ok. I mean, the name of the program is 80 Day Obsession – the entire goal is to become obsessed with your fitness and nutrition, so I get that I signed up for that. But I think that looking ahead I’ll still use a lot of the workouts but follow my gut (no pun intended) when it comes to eating.

Do I recommend trying 80 Day Obsession?

Yes. I’m all for new experiences, especially ones that teach you about how to be healthier. That being said, if you tend to struggle with food issues, or are unaccustomed to intense workouts, then maybe not.

Any secrets to making the program work?

Shakeology is a freaking miracle product. I’ve had one of these superfood shakes almost daily for more than three years, and they’re an essential part of my health. I also used two products from the Beachbody Performance Line throughout the program: Energize and Recover – and holy moly these made a WORLD of difference. I will continue to use both. Plus, this program incorporates a weekly self care day, to stretch, foam roll, take an Epsom salt bath, get a massage, etc. I love that.

What’s next?

This month I started an entirely different type of program, called 2B Mindset. This is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m learning a lot. Naturally, some of that learning is pretty uncomfortable, but it’s challenging  in good ways.

This program is solely focused on healthy ways to eat, without counting calories, or containers or making any food off limits. It’s keyed into helping you address emotional eating and lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight) without feeling deprived.

Here’s the craziest part: there’s no exercise. None. If you do want to exercise you can, but this is a fully immersive focus on how to gain control of how you view food, plan meals, and eat to feel full without going off track.

I am LOVING it. It’s a complete 180 from 80 Day Obsession, and that’s ok. It’s been amazing to explore a new approach and very freeing to start shedding some of the negative thought processes I have surrounding food and exercise. I strongly recommend this program, which is all available online (the content is all in short videos).

Happy to answer any questions, and hope that in sharing this you might find some amusement or helpful information.

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Maya is ONE!

Dear Maya, you are ONE!

It’s so hard to believe we met you a full year ago. You’ve brought indescribable joy to our lives and added a new dimension of love to our hearts.

Everywhere you go, people remark on how calm and happy you are. Even when you’ve been sick or tired or schlepped all over the place, you are almost always quite content and rarely stop smiling.

You delight in simply being held (by anyone), observing the world around you, and absolutely love to snuggle. You weigh 22.3 lbs, are 30 inches long (both about the 80th percentile) and your head is in the 94th percentile #bigbrain. A month ago you had two teeth, but now seven have broken through. You have amazing baby curls that I hope never go away.

You are fascinated by: my electric toothbrush, climbing into Lila’s bed, and drinking out of water bottles

You are mischievous when you: pull all the toilet paper off the roll, try to eat dog food, and pull your sister’s hair

You like to eat: pretty much everything, but especially green peas, veggie straws, strawberries and cheese

You can say: hi, yay, uh oh, more, mama and dada, and love to wave and clap and sign ‘more’ or ‘all done’

You love to: walk with your push-and-go or holding dad’s fingers, splash in the bathtub, and play in mom and dad’s bed

Parenting two marvelous humans has been a harder transition than I anticipated, but in unexpected ways. There are the simple logistical challenges, like managing two nightly baths and story routines, but also the less visible ones, like the guilt of having to put you down to tend to your sister, and spending far less quality one-on-one time with Lila.

There’s also the exhaustion. You finally got tubes about a month ago, but for the six months preceding that miracle, you were sick pretty much constantly. You were a trooper, but…no one slept particularly well as a result of chronic ear infections. We had a lot of unplanned sleepovers in your room.

We’ve found a balance though, and watching your evolving relationship with your sister is all the reinforcement we need that things are going in the right direction.

We love you and your magical spirit and are thankful every day for the privilege of being your parents.

34 is completely strange

It struck me the other day that there’s not a lot to be said about being 34. It’s a nondescript age planted solidly in mid-thirties ambiguity.

College feels like it was a lifetime ago, but I still like to have dance parties and shop in the junior’s section at Marshall’s.

I have life insurance and a will (F…a will?), and most of the same insecurities I did at 14.

I have friends getting married and friends getting divorced. Friends having babies and friends having an awful time with infertility.

I worry about climate change and societal unrest and also my pores and the onset of gray hair.

I listen to the same explicit hip hop I did in 1998, sandwiched between podcasts about religion and the gender pay gap.

I catch myself full of judgmental opinions when I see teenagers wearing revealing clothes, overlooking the fact that teenage me did the exact. same. thing.

I went to a rock concert this weekend. I wore ripped jeans. And when it was over, my back ached from standing all night. I drove home singing at the top of my lungs with two empty car seats as an audience.

It’s a comical juxtaposition to feel so young and so old. And it’s not that I actually feel old (despite the dreadful noises my hips make when I sit cross-legged), but a lot of life and living has happened, providing a vantage point where the past and the future are equally lovely and blurry.

34 isn’t bad. It’s just fine. A bit remarkable and sort of awkward and I’ll take it.

Maya at 10 Months  

You are a calm, content baby with a truly happy demeanor. Your smile lights up a whole room with dimples just like your big sis.

You started crawling and pulling yourself up about a month ago, and can get around the house in no time, even crawling up the step from the living room. You’re still rocking just two bottom teeth, but are getting longer hair with the sweetest baby curls.

You say mama and dada and something resembling “ya.” You wave at everyone and immediately start splashing your hand in the bathtub water when we say the word. Recently you’ve begun to play with us more actively, knocking down block towers and putting objects in and out of cups we hold.

You love food and have eaten everything we’ve given you, although you didn’t seem to enjoy mango too much. You sleep through the night fairly well when you’re healthy, but have been plagued with colds and stomach bugs and pesky ear infections for the past few months.

You’re fascinated with your big sister and light up when she’s around. You tolerate her somewhat overzealous hugs without batting an eye and follow her wherever she goes, letting out excited huffs and grunts.

You love to snuggle. When we hold you before bed and you’re sleepy, you’ll kind of burrow your hands underneath you and push your head into our necks, and it’s the best feeling on the planet.

Lila is three and a half

Dear Lila,

You are three-and-a-half and one amazing little human. When I try to find the right words to describe you, I immediately come up with: exuberant, thoughtful, intentional, determined, creative, silly and affectionate.

You are a super big sister to Maya. You engage with her, talk in a silly “baby” voice on her behalf, and are always looking out for her. On any given morning we might hear a frantic, “Mom! Sister’s escaping her room! She’s crawling away down the hallway!” And when she tries to grab your things, chew on your toys or simply requires our attention when you also need us, you’re exceedingly patient. You’ve never once asked us to leave her to tend to you, or complained about the fact that you’re usually forced to share our attention. You celebrate her milestones and play nicely with her, although we continue to work on what gentle feels like. You take the responsibility of keeping small toys (choking hazards) away from her with an unexpected sense of maturity, offer to share your food with her, and give her “kissing hands” when you leave for school.

You love the outdoors. You will spend hours outside entertaining yourself. You collect rocks and seeds, build houses for bugs, construct obstacle courses using miscellaneous things you find, and chat with your friend Everett over the wall about any range of amusing topics. You have no issue running around without shoes, and certainly are not intimidated by getting dirty.

Favorite activities:

  • Drawing, especially pictures of our family or your friends.
  • Playing with the excessive menagerie of plastic animals you’ve acquired (making them play-doh “pajamas,” building schools and stables for them out of magnet tiles and bringing them into your bath).
  • Making “surprises” and presenting them to everyone in the house. A surprise is one of your toys hidden inside a Russian nesting doll, given as a present.
  • Reading books
  • Watching clips of your favorite movies or shows. Screen time is limited to weekends, and it’s definitely a top choice when presented. Right now your obsession has taken a dramatic shift from The Lion King to The Land Before Time.
  • Talking about volcanoes and lava and molten rock, following a lengthy study of this in school.
  • Getting and opening the mail, and also making your own packages, taping them shut, and giving them to us.

When asked what you want to be when you grow up: “A tooth fairy. Or a lion or a dinosaur.”

Things you dislike:

  • Having your hair brushed
  • Going to bed
  • Mosquitos

Fun Facts:

  • You eat pretty much everything, even things that are spicy, or just not typical fare for children, like…chicken wings, raw broccoli, seafood, nuts, etc. The only things you tend to refuse are squash (that is, if you know it’s squash) and bell peppers.
  • You’ve been able to recognize and write your letters and numbers for a while, and now have started to identify letters in the environment, like a logo on a shirt, or a stop sign.
  • You have a very specific way we’re required to arrange your blankets to “make them peaceful” before bed each night. You also insist that your entire room is picked up before you go to bed.
  • You have insane memorization capabilities – your teachers comment on this as well. You hear a story once and can immediately recite parts of it, and are constantly memorizing movie lines and song lyrics and entire books.
  • You are a master negotiator. If we tell you three more minutes, you’ll ask for four. If we offer two strawberries, we’ll hear, “Welllll, how about just three?”

You’re simply a delight to be with and endlessly amusing. We love your spirit and energy and are constantly in awe of you.