Author Archives: linleelouloo

Baby Weights: Toning with Toddlers

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Baby Weights: Toning with Toddlers

Baby Weights was designed to kick start moms into exercising recently after having kids and realizing that their whole lives and bodies have changed.  But, as a newborn baby will grow, learn, practice, and improve every skill in their lives daily, so have you moms with these mom-adapted beginner tips.  You’re now a pro at Baby Weights’ basic moves and routines (as well as multitasking, masking the smell of your unshowered bodies, and  manipulating your words to make demands and directions toward your kids seem like amazingly fun ideas that they came up with completely on their own (“You are so smart to pretend your toys are basketballs and the toy chest is the net!  What a great idea!  I wonder which one of you will get the most baskets?!”)).  But, as a general rule of nature, as soon as we’ve adapted to something, it changes again.  Especially when it comes to children:  They move from “non-mobility” to “across the room and into the Tupperware in three seconds”, from adorable babbling and giggling to persistent demands of non-satisfaction and defiance, and from needing you for everything without question to needing you for everything but insisting they can do it by themselves.

We evolve just as our children, including in our fitness abilities.  Toning with Toddlers will be a way for you to continue getting exercise in at home with your and your kids’ changing needs in mind.  We all need exercise.  Almost as much as we need wine and the occasional meme of Chris Hemsworth with his shirt off.  If you haven’t found a way to fit regular workouts into the day yet, Toning with Toddlers will be a good tool in the belt.

So, to begin our next level mom-adapted series, we’re going to target the abs and obliques (side abs).  You remember those things, right? You watched them disappear in a slow, week-by-week process as your womb tenant grew from a watermelon seed to a kumquat (I can’t help but whisper a faint “that’s what she said” every time I say that word- will I ever mature?) to full newborn size, robbing your midsection of any tone, tightness, or dignity.  Sigh, oh yeah. Those.  The good news is, they are still there!  They are just hiding.  Think of these exercises as a way to “seek” them.  Ready or not, here they come!

The Elephant Walk    2017-03-25 14.13.41

By now, your kids are getting heavier and are able to follow gross motor directions.  Use them as your weights in this exercise.  You probably do this exercise every day without realizing that you are working your abs.  When you are in the middle of a task that requires you to walk from place to place, the kids seem to have radar that inevitably draws them to sit on your feet and wrap themselves around your legs.  Walking with these weights strapped to your legs is an adaptation of a great lower ab exercise!

Have a child sit on your foot and wrap his legs and arms around your leg.  Keeping your leg straight by locking your knee and tightening your quadraceps (your thigh), swing your leg forward to begin walking, sucking in your belly and tightening your butt cheeks (think “Continuous Bathing Suit” from  Baby Weights).  You will have to twist your upper body a bit to keep your balance.  That will actually hit the obliques as well.  Just remember to protect your lower back by keeping your belly and butt tight.

Walk as far as you can in one direction, then have the child sit on the other foot and repeat.  If you have two children, have one sit on each foot and repeat the same movements.  If you have three children, you can hold the lightest child in one of three ways:

The “Diaper Blow-out” Hold

Hold baby under armpits and away from your body like you’re hugging a beach ball.  You’ve practiced this move when your babies have somehow gotten poop from their heels to the back of their heads and you’ve just put on clean, non-mom uniform clothes for the first time in a month.  This move is a good compliment to the Elephant Walk that will hit your shoulders and arms.

The Piggy Back

Giving your child a piggy back while Elephant Walking is a basic and stable way to add weight to the exercise and get your heart rate up faster.

The Airplane

baby weightsThis move will also hit your shoulders and arms.  If your child is of an appropriate weight for your abilities, not a squirmer, and you can do so safely, have her lay in your hands like you are going to fly her like an airplane (palms of hands on her belly, thumbs facing out).  Push her up over your head and hold her there while you Elephant Walk.  If she is light and still enough, you can try to press her up and down for an even more advanced move.

 

This one move has so many adaptations to fit multiple fitness levels.  If your children are too light for you to feel like you are working, let one at a time sit on a foot while you stand and hold on to something stable on the opposite side of the leg you will be working.  Utilizing good form (tightened belly, butt, quad, and straight leg), swing the leg as high as you can straight up in front of you as many times as you can.  Then switch sides.  You can do side leg lifts as well to hit obliques, “muffin tops”, and side butt!

This move is great because of its versatility and the ease of which it incorporates your kids.  They think you are playing with them, and you are able to get in exercise while still getting from one end of your original task to the other.  Walking from the table to the sink to clear the dishes?  Cleaning, quality time, playtime, and exercise all in one!  Multitasking at its best!  Looked at the clock to realize another day has gone by without exercise?  Elephant Walk to the wine glasses, over to the wine fridge, then finally to the couch.  You time, them time, WINE TIME all in one!  #winwinwin

 

 

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Cleaning and Scrubbing Our Souls

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Cleaning and Scrubbing Our Souls

A strong memory of my mother growing up is a poem she often recited:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow.

For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.

So, quiet down cobwebs.

Dust, go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

 

When I left my career to stay home with the kids, I went into a panic.  I quit a life path I was good at, stopped being able to see friends or talk to people my age every day, and I no longer did the things that defined me as the person I thought I was.  I knew being a mom was not a useless job, but it was a hard transition from supervisor and business model structure, reinforcement of a job well done through pay and responsibility increases, and, honestly, a paycheck to show how much my time and effort were worth.

During the first months after the transition, I found myself in a constant state of resentment.  I resented my husband for the lack of reinforcement I was receiving in my new position, my children for being ungrateful and difficult to please bosses, and myself for making the decision to put my dreams and ambitions aside.  I often thought about all of the wonderful things that would be happening to me had I stayed my career path, like,  “If I would have stayed, I would be making this much money right now”, and “What if the supervisor quits?  I would be great at that job!”.

I lived life anxiously, insisting that I needed something to fill the void and get back in touch with my true self.  I thought of jobs I could take on the side and hobbies I could pick up to prove to…. I’m not sure who, exactly….. that I was the me that wanted to do those things and would do them.  I was perpetually cleaning and scrubbing at my soul to shine it up for something more.

There wasn’t a life event in particular that adjusted my thinking.  I became further removed from the work force and I went through ups and downs with the kids.  My son made me cry in public (more than once) because he was so challenging in his beginning years.  My daughter incessantly reminded me for at least a year straight that she loved her dad more than me.  I felt mostly unappreciated and invisible.

I’m understanding now, though, that it was through these times- the ins and outs, the minutes and hours- that I got to know my kids as people.  They came from my body; its no wonder my soul wasn’t where it used to be- my soul was and is wrapped up in them.  Even for those of us who have adopted children who have not come from our bodies, we’ve still given them our hearts.  When we give something so fully, whether on purpose or not, there is no piece left for anything else: No time for new hobbies, no energy for new friends, no worry for what could be.  And that’s OK.

That’s better than OK, actually.  Its beautiful.

I used to think of this in such a negative light: “These kids only leave me enough energy to drink wine!”  Now, with two kids for which I was there in the beginning to put in the work, I’m finding that more pieces of me are able to naturally fit back into the picture.  These pieces have changed to fit into my mom soul and they are creating a more well rounded picture of me.

We don’t need to clean and scrub our souls for something better.  Our unwashed, tired, disheveled, seemingly unrecognized mom souls shine every day through the people we are molding to take on the world.  Time passes and opportunities present themselves in their own time. Let yourselves grow the way life aims you and be able to sit in the moments when you want more, knowing what you have and what you are doing is enough.

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow.

For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.

So quiet down ‘have tos’.

‘What ifs’ go to sleep.

I’m raising my babies and my heart they keep .

Holiday Donations for Your Sanity

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PARENTS!

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

Time to grab your non-see through black garbage bags, wait until the kids are asleep, then collect your donations for The Trash Can.

Acceptable items include:

-Bins of toys that are dumped out repeatedly but not actually ever played with or cleaned up

-EVERY toy made of many, tiny pieces

-Toys with pieces that are broken off to be used for a purpose other than the original intention, often resulting in -danger and injury

-Anything with glitter

-Hard-as-a-rock Play Doh (and the carpet it has ruined)

-Any toy that makes noise and does not have an “off” switch

-Anything in the play room that makes your body angry just by looking at it

 

Think ahead and make your donations early to clear room for the next batch of Christmas presents that will inevitably fit the same criteria.

Due to high volume, there will be another chance to donate in January!

 

Remember to enjoy the season and always hide your nog in your coffee mug!  You can call it “coffee nog”!

Happy Holidays!

 

A Parent’s Halloween Affirmation

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A Parent’s Halloween Affirmation

Trick-or-Treating is for kids.

I am a fully grown adult.

I will not try to convince my children that my costume ideas are better than theirs just because they are cheaper and more practical.

I will not tell my children that people are not home in order to avoid the houses with the candy that I do not like.

I will maintain a positive voice and encourage words of gratitude from my children when they receive pennies in lieu of delicious chocolate.

I will only take 73% of the good candy for myself.

I will refrain from shame-eating candy behind the locked door of the bathroom.

I am a fully grown adult.

Adult Halloween is for drinking.

The BeautiFULL Princess: Salvaging Life Lessons for My Little Girl

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The BeautiFULL Princess: Salvaging Life Lessons for My Little Girl

I can blame whom or whatever I decide to blame.  Typically, I rotate the guilty party daily: The little girl in day care for wearing a sparkly headband, that certain “Magical Kingdom” company for having such damn good marketing for her demographic, my mother for incessantly buying her an abundance of princess paraphernalia, and even myself for being unable to control my swooning when she wears her party dresses with matching sparkly shoes… She looks so pretty, though!

The fact is: My daughter is a girly girl with the hopes, dreams, and wishes of being a princess.  In the argument of Nature vs. Nurture, I was a Nurture advocate and believed it was very black and white.  That was B.C., when I had no f%$#ing idea what I was talking about.  Nothing about raising a child is black and white, and, much to the dismay of controlling people in a controlling society, certain things are up to Nature.

From the moment we enter motherhood, we relinquish control of so much: What we can eat, drink, and do when we’re pregnant, when we sleep, eat, and shower when we have babies, and the core personalities of our children when they grow into their own.  We fight what they are naturally drawn to do and like, believing it our parently duty to control the people they are.  We believe this because it is, in fact, our job to shape them, but instead of futilely fighting, we can use these innate interests (barring they are not harmful to their safety and the safety of others (duh!)) to control the people they grow into and become.

To begin most of our days, my wide eyed, dreamy little girl twirls into my room and sings, “Mommy, I need to wear a dress today, because I can only be a beautiful princess when I wear a dress and crown!”.  It is at this moment I realize again and again that, by allowing her to participate in this seemingly harmless play act, she may be missing some incredibly important life lessons that I must teach in order to raise her to be a confident, respectful, content, grateful, and gracious adult.  It is at this same moment I realize that, if I stifle her creative play, I will become the Wicked Witch in her fairytale world whom she does not respect, or worse, trust.  If she doesn’t trust what I say, how can my words be most effective in teaching her?

So, I have begun using the Princess Pandemic as a teaching tool for what being beautiful truly means: FULL of beauty from the inside out.  Every day, I use her undying desire to be a princess to remind her:

“Darling, being beautiful has nothing to do with what you wear.  Princesses are beautiful on the inside, for if you are not beautiful on the inside, it will not show outside.

You cannot wear a princess crown unless you have so much knowledge in your brain to hold it on.  Being smart is beautiful.

You cannot be beautiful without a positive attitude and confidence.  Being hopeful is beautiful.

You cannot be beautiful unless you help your family, friends, teachers, and those in need.  Being helpFULL is beautiFULL.

You cannot truly be beautiful unless you appreciate who is in your life and how fortunate you are.  If you always want more and are not content with what you have, your beauty will not shine through.  Being grateFULL is beautiFULL.”

 

My B.C. plans of my girls being tomboys and my boys being calm and gentle have been edited by the reality of Nature.  I am learning every day to give Nature a little more room to take its course.  I will complete my due diligence to deplete commercials from her viewing, for they feed greed.  I will preview content of media entertainment to ensure that it is educational, and perpetuate the fact that screen time is an earned privilege as opposed to a right.  I will let her wear her dresses and crowns while she creates make believe princes and castles on a stage that is set not to make, but to ALLOW her to transition from the imaginary beautiful princess to a beautiFULL person throughout the rest of her real life.

 

 

 

 

To Three or Not to Three

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To Three or Not to Three

I have been described as “scatter-brained”.  I prefer inspiring terms, such as “free spirited” and “beautifully right brained”, but typically I am a text book hot mess.  Over the years, I have made resolutions and drawn up plans to combat this personality trait.  The one that has stuck around the longest has been making lists.  Life is full of check lists, to do lists, and pros/cons lists that I scribble on post its, notecards, or the last blank piece of paper from a college notebook that is still, for some right-brained reason, hanging around in my third house since college.

to do list

It is hard to believe that I climbed the professional ladder and have kept the wife and mother gig for all of this time and have not moved on to a better system for life organization.  Unfinished Pros/Cons lists have evolved from topics such as “Where to Go On Vacation” to the more seriously permanent and life changing topic “Do We Have a Third Kid?”.  Just writing the title of the list makes me run to my Panic Wine.  I guess I can put that in the Reasons Why Not category: “The mere idea makes me panic drink”.  Alrighty, then…. Off to an interesting start.  Shall we delve deeper?

 

REASONS WHY NOT TO HAVE A THIRD KID

MONEY AND THE LACK THEREOF

Each little gene bundle we create costs a legit fortune.  Every college is packed full of mom-proclaimed geniuses and scholarships are diminishing faster than the hope that I’ll fit into my high school skinny jeans.

SANITY

Some days, wine is just not enough to get me through… and that is life with TWO.  I envision myself cleaning up the poop trail that begins at the diaper on the basement floor and trails to the upstairs bathroom while I breast feed an infant that is strapped to my chest with a towel and duct tape.  “Why duct tape?” you ask?  Because my son tried to clean up said poop trail with my Moby wrap.  Yes, these are the hypothetical situations surrounding three children that manifest in my brain.  PANIC. wine.

“NICE BODY, BABY” TURNED “NICE BABY BODY”

I am positive that there is no way my body can forgive me for asking so much of it a third time around and will definitely not do me a solid by going back to its original shape and size.  Body says, “Once? OK, you’re young and I’ll happily bounce back for you.  Twice? Girl, don’t you remember how I felt last time?  That was crazy, confusing, tedious, and gross.  Three kids?  Don’t come around here telling me you’re going to do it again.  I quit”.

ONE INHABITANT PER BODY IS ENOUGH

Having kids close together makes me feel perpetually pregnant.  If there wasn’t a baby in me, there was one attached to me for most of a three year stretch, not including the time it took to get back to a size and shape I recognized as a version of my own.  I’m now used to my body being mine again as opposed to a vessel on loan.  I can do, eat, and drink at my own risk.

MY CALENDAR IS BOOKED

The older I get, the less exciting and frequent events become on my calendar.  Weddings, parties, and vacations have dwindled to play dates, doctor appointments, and baby shower RSVP deadlines (which I frequently miss).  So, the fact that I have a wedding and school reunion on the docket this year is quite exciting.  Could I really subject myself to watching my college friends play our old drinking games and waddle my pregnant self behind them on the bar shuffle?  Could I really be the sober option to drive the wedding party through Taco Bell at 2:00 AM?  My immediate thought: “Oh, Hell no!”.  So, you see, pregnancy just doesn’t fit into my schedule this year.

 

These are just the first few reasons off the top of my head.  I’m sure I could go on as I slip deeper into my Panic Wine stupor.  In the interest of fairness and sticking to the method of the Pro/Con List, though, let us consider the Pros.

 

REASONS TO HAVE A THIRD KID

KID’S PLAY

I’m not entirely sure that I want to give up the ability to sing Laurie Berkner songs at full volume anywhere at anytime without witnesses feeling it their due diligence to refer me to a psychologist.  What other job would allow me to blow bubbles while drawing an imaginary friend with sidewalk chalk?  Under what other circumstances could I make up entirely fictional, yet totally enchanting stories and not be scorned for 1. lying or 2. not being in touch with reality?  Being a kid is so fun.  Pretending to be a kid is flippin’ awesome!

PLAIN, STUBBORN, PERSISTENCE

My body will not shut up.  Every time I see a baby, bottle, or pacifier, I start talking in baby voice.  The smell of any product made by Johnson & Johnson makes me want to cuddle the nearest small thing and bite its cheeks.  I can’t explain it nor can I stop it.

 

That’s it.  That’s all I can think of.  Body wants what it wants and I love cartoons.  I suppose that what the Pro list lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.  Women that had taken the plunge in the mom pool before I have told me from the beginning that I’ll never be ready, there will never be enough time or money, and I’ll never be able to be sure how anything is going to turn out, nor control almost anything.  It sounds terrible and anxiety inducing to this day, yet here I am living a life I love after already going through it twice.  2016 has interesting decisions and calendar additions to consider…. right after I stock up on my reserve supply of Panic Wine.

 

 

I’m Still Here!

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I’m Still Here!

Hello to my understanding and patient readers!

It is no secret I have been M.I.A. for a while.  I understand how you must be feeling…  The Walking Dead ended for the mid season break and I slipped into a terrible show hole that I assume feels like what you go through when I don’t write…..

 

If you’re still reading, please know I’m kidding.  You have been too busy trying to find the Star Shower laser projection Christmas lights that are sold out in stores and cost quadruple on Amazon to notice me dropping the ball (You are not alone!  With a nickname of “Star Shower Lazy Lights” promising the illusion of Christmas spirit at the expense of little to no effort, Mombies everywhere are raising a glass to this little Christmas miracle.).

If I were ever to imagine breaking a bone, I would think an awesome and inspiring story or lesson would accompany the incident.  As I sit here, finger pecking away at my keyboard, I take a loathing look at the cast up to my forearm stained with the remnants of a month’s worth of toilet training, toddlers’ allergies confused by the unseasonable weather, and self tanner.  This is caused by my attempt to protect myself from my husband and kids tickling me, and is a daily reminder that a bone can be broken at any time doing any silly, run of the mill thing.  Six to eight weeks of this fiberglass hand prison with no amazing story to offset its unsightliness or uncleanliness.  Ho. Ho. Ho.

So, my excellent Mombies, I’ll be back soon, finishing, with two working hands on a keyboard, drafts of my entries that I have hastily hands free talk-to-texted.  Side note: Talk-to-text is extremely perverted and sometimes decides to translate dictation into different languages… or perverted words that I don’t know.  Can’t be sure.

Enjoy the holidays and government-alarming warm weather, and (as always!) remember to drink the bulk of your wine out of sight at your family gatherings so they don’t talk about what a lush you are all through 2016.

 

You love them, You love them

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You love them, You love them

They grow up with you.

You grow up with them.

Through good times and bad times

again and again.

No one will know them

as wholly as you-

Every mood, every face,

when they’re being untrue.

They choose not to listen

and make your head hot.

Like pedals from a flower,

you love them, love them not.

They make you go crazy.

They make you go gray.

Drive you sick with worry

every time they’re away.

They’ll tell you they love you

right after you’ve fought.

Like pulling off pedals,

you love them, love them not.

Then you think of the days

with the pedals of “nots”,

the vast gardens of time,

and each stem in each pot.

Each one now just memories.

Just moments now passed.

The laughs and the lessons,

good and hard times gone fast.

They grow up and away

in the blink of an eye

You weep and you panic

when you say goodbye.

The “not” days seem long

and a mess to get through,

but when it comes to the end,

its just them and you.

Forever and ever,

’til the end of the stem.

Every pedal, every pull-

you love them, you love them.

To My Dear Friend, A First Time Mom

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When you come into my house accompanied with a car seat, I am immediately happy.
When I look at your baby’s face, I immediately see you.
When she cries, I say “Aww, baby”.  Not because I expect you to quiet her, but because I want to do anything and everything for her. Forever.
When I see you jump at her slightest sounds, I laugh. Not out of superiority or judgement, but happiness that you, too, have begun the most meaningful journey of life.
I laugh, having joyous memories of not knowing what on Earth I was doing.
I laugh because I didn’t have anyone my age to go through the experience with and I am so damn honored to be there with you while you experience through.

I will never judge you when you make mistakes or have an “I’m not ready to be a mom” day.  I’ve made them and had them and will listen empathetically.
So, when she doesn’t adhere to a sleep or behavior routine and interrupts our conversations, don’t apologize. I want nothing more than to be with her and know her.

When she cries while I hold her, its OK.  My babies will never again be as small as she is in my arms, so I will gladly listen to her cry and try to appease her.

When I bring the baby swing from the basement or sanitize the toys from the play room, please know that it is not a burden for me.  These simple actions allow me to remember the time that my babies needed what yours needs now.  And those are the best memories.

I love you and I loved her before I even met her.  You are amazing, you’re doing great, and I’m proud of you.

 

Baby Weights

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What am I doing for exercise around my house this week?  Lifting my broken computer over my head and throwing it out the window.  Baby Weights will be back in full next week, a small fortune and transfer from a terabyte hard drive later.

Until then, there are many fun fall activities we must do that keep up the  heart rate.  The season is changing, making longer pants and more articles of clothing necessary for the kids.  Take out last year’s fall and winter clothes and run after your resistant child to try them on him.  While you’re still in a good sweat from chasing him,  try to keep him from moving as you squeeze his body into the jeans you are praying will still fit so you don’t have to take him with you to Old Navy and drop $100.

Avoiding errands with toddlers in tow is your driving motivation.  Keep your eyes on the prize and you can make those pants fit him… maybe not with the button closed, but simply put a long shirt on him to cover it up and call it a win.