Some Closing Captions

Clark is out of town {returning today}. Typically, when he is gone I can’t sleep. So, I stay up way too late wandering the internet in places I really don’t belong. For instance, last night I was scrolling the New Yorker cartoon archives that probably weren’t all that funny, but since I was already up late and all by myself, and I have been with the kids for three days straight ALL BY MYSELF, I thought they were freaking hilarious. Literally, I was *guffawing so loudly, I woke up one of the kids.

I recently listened to a Heritage Radio broadcast that discussed how American society is moving away from expressing it’s individuality with words and instead projecting their identity through visual media {i.e. Pinterest and Instagram, etc.}. If this is true, I thought I would meet you half-way and tie up this month’s healthy living conversation with a few of my favorite late night cartoon captions.

NY down internet
{For my mother who will inevitably ask for the large print edition of this blog post:}
“HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO COOK? THE INTERNET IS DOWN”

NY healthcare card
“CONGRATULATIONS”/”GOOD LUCK WITH THE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM”/”GET WELL”Demitri Martin 2
Mom, is that big enough?

NY Improv night NY not exercise Demetri Martin 1

For real though… that last one had me un. done. Comment on your favorite. {Er don’t, because apparently our generation doesn’t like to talk anymore}.
Okay then. Pin-stagram your fave.

{All hysterical images via The New Yorker and Demetri Martin}

{*guffawing via thesaurus.com… seriously, who says that?}

{Guest Post} with Elizabeth from Bite An Elephant…

We Love You Already{Image via SWG Photography}

Elizabeth is one of my dearest friends and long-time inspirations. She is the Wellness Programs Director at Chick-Fil-A, and she has dedicated her life to motivating others toward better health. I have picked her brain about everything from dairy products to bicycle shorts, so I was thrilled when she agreed to share her thoughts on her first pregnancy, her changing shape, and how she’s embraced the baby bump! She is due in July, and trust me when I say, she looks A-mazing {and she can still outrun me on a 6-miler– baby bump and all… Love you, Liz}. –Salina

Alright ladies, I want to begin with disclaimers so that we are on the same page.

1.    I am sharing simply from my personal experience being 6.5 months pregnant with my first baby.

2.   Every person and every pregnancy is unique.

Health and energy have been very important to me for many years. There is a clear correlation between food and exercise choices and how they affect my health (my ability to do what I want, when I want and not be limited by my own inability) and my energy (the extent that I can invest in people, projects, or opportunities). Naturally, after I found out the wonderful news that my amazing husband, John, and I were going to be parents my mind went to “how do I do this the healthiest way – for the baby and for me?”

Each week my body has been changing, and honestly that has been very difficult to accept. I used to look at pregnant girls and think, “You are so adorable. I am so excited to be in that place someday – fit with a baby bump.” I suppose I never really stopped to think about what it would really feel like to outgrow my clothes, not fit through small spaces like I used to, or to look in the mirror and think “whose body is that?” I am by nature a disciplined person, and I knew how much food I needed in a day to be healthy, and suddenly, I felt like I could eat everything in sight. It took me a few weeks to separate what the baby and I needed from what I wanted to give myself permission to eat.

Have you experienced that?

It doesn’t have to be pregnancy. It could be a hard day at work that ends with, “I had a hard day, I am going to treat myself to some ____”. Or perhaps it was a rough conversation with someone you care about that concludes with, “Some ____ will make me feel better”. Permission to behave in ways we want but we know are not productive can be dangerous. It is sneaky how it works. And I was finding in the first months of pregnancy I wanted to give myself permission to eat another cookie because after all I was growing a life inside me. What is bazaar is the reality that of all times this is the most important time for me to make wise decisions. A perspective shift was required to move from “I deserve” permissions to “what is the best choice right now?” wisdom.

jonlaurenmaternity_0012{Image via Love the Schultzes Photography}

Regarding exercise, I was thankful that the CDC had a statement regarding exercise during pregnancy – in my own words, if you did it before getting pregnant you can do it now, unless you feel pain–great motivation to be in our best shape before getting pregnant! My personal motto became “do what I can, as much as I can”. I am thankful I was able to run until about 24 weeks along. Now it looks like, thanks to a nice sharp pain in my hip, walking and cycling on the stationary bike is going to be the wise choice. I know that my decisions to exercise will help this little guy be the healthiest he can be. It will provide for a better delivery, and it will allow me to be my very best after he is born. As he grows up I want to be playing catch with him in the yard, not playing catch up with myself for poor decisions that I made while I was pregnant.

Striped bump 1{Image via Meghan Rickard Photography}

Each story is different, but the principles that I have learned in the process may relate to you:

  • Consider this season as precious and unique, and recognize that a growing tummy means a healthy baby.
  • Separate what we need to eat from what we want to give ourselves permission to eat, and moment by moment ask “what is the best choice I can make right now?”
  • Exercise every way you can (without pain and only if you did it before you were pregnant), as often as you can. (It will only get more challenging to move around)

So, no matter season of life, what would life look like for you if you knew you were living as the best version of yourself?
How would your confidence, energy, and even relationships look and feel different?

{You can follow Elizabeth at Bite An Elephant— a website that encourages readers to dream big and take action on those dreams every day!}

Road Trip Ent.

Couple taking a road trip in vintage car.

We are on the road! I wish I could say we were headed for an exotic weekend getaway, but the reality is, we are headed to Macon, Ga. No offense to Macon-ators, but the most exciting thing I have found there is the drive-thru Starbucks that still serves Berry Blossom White tea. BTW, That needs to make a come-back in all S’bucks everywhere, don’t you think? {Any To Do #394: Send BBW tea request to Howard Schultz.}

And use fewer abbr. in LLB posts apparently. J/K

Salem has his three month appointment with the Autism specialist, and since he won’t let me sing in the car {or anywhere for that matter}, I have plenty of podcasts on deck… everything from the latest New Yorker: Fiction reading {when I’m alone, I like to practice my Deborah Treisman impersonation} to a recent interview with the ultimate party planner, David Stark. Did you know there is actually a podcast called Stuff You Should Know? It sounded just weird enough for me to listen to and last week, wouldn’t you know, I learned something I never knew that I should have known… thus a podcast aptly named. What sort of entertainment do you like to bring on road trips?

Have a great weekend!
CYA Mon.!

{Image via Sorority Sugar}

What Do Your Dreams Say About You?

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I am completely overwhelmed by the encouragement and support that flooded my phone, email, and comments after yesterday’s moving post. It helps tremendously to hear your “hang in there”{s}. Moving is not the end of the world, but have you ever felt like you simply do not have what it takes to carry out the task at hand? This feels like one of those dreams where you are being chased by a psyche ward patient waving a spork down the interstate and you are trying to run away but you have shake weights strapped to your ankles and you can’t escape. {You’ve never had that dream?}

Speaking of dreams… do you believe in dream interpretation? According to the Dream Mood Dictionary, our most bizarre dreams can reveal things about ourselves we may have otherwise ignored. For instance, “chase dreams” stem from feelings of anxiety in your waking life.

{Gosh, you think?}

What is the most bizarre dream you have ever had?

{Image via push-pins tumblr}

Here We Move Again

Peter Hall

There are days that take your breath away. And then there are days that knock the wind out of you.

Yesterday was the latter. I will tell you why.

I don’t have a makeup drawer… nor do I have a medicine cabinet where I keep my everyday soaps, lotions, and personal items. I have stored everything from my toothpaste to my face wash in the same toiletry bag for the past 6 years. It only occurred to me last night while I was getting ready for bed that Clark doesn’t have a personal drawer or cabinet either. He too keeps all of his everyday items in a travel-size tote– the very same that he used to throw into his carry-on luggage from our professional traveling days. We have no less than seven bathroom cabinets between us that remain empty as everything we need fits within airline regulations.

How does empty cabinet space qualify as a personal crisis?

The unused space is a glaring reminder of our tenancy. We’ve been renters for the last three years and while that too isn’t the end of the world, our lack of home ownership has resulted in three moves in three years. As of today, it appears we are staring down the barrel of the fourth. Our landlords just informed us of their plans to sell our current address. Wouldn’t you know it– I just unpacked our last box 3 weeks ago. The news has once again thrust me into excessive planning mode– cleaning out the unused household items and clothes for Goodwill and making a list of things to sell. I know that “rent” means “temporary”. I knew we wouldn’t be here forever. But we just got here, and now we’re about to box it all up again. I feel like a military family without the G. I. benefits.

CSIS is foiling terrorist plots in the Toronto transit system, and Chinese rescue crews are still working to recover from last week’s 6.6 earthquake. And, I am complaining about caboodles.

But the fact that I haven’t unpacked my toothbrush in SIX YEARS since the last time I flew around the world has to mean something, right? Six years ago, I preferred mobility. Six years ago, I fantasized about having little gypsie children in tow as Clark and I traipsed the globe from one musical pursuit to another. Six years ago, the idea of suburban settlement was worse than banishment into exile. And now, my first-grade maternal instincts say, “keep the nest from rocking as little as possible”. I worry what rearranging Mia’s bedroom furniture might do to her little psyche. Salem is barely old enough to remember the last three addresses, and yet I fear he is going to require long-term therapy to recover from all of the transition.

And yet, here comes the sway.

I know me, and you know me. Next week I will be posting color schemes and layout for the new space. But as for today, I want stay somewhere long enough for the Sarna bottle to expire underneath the bathroom sink.

How about you? Do you find moving daunting or exciting or a little bit of both?

Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain

Kennesaw mountain trail

My friend, Elizabeth {rockin’ guest post from her coming to you later this month} recently reviewed an article in Forbes Magazine entitled 14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends. I may not be a C.E.O., but I am a M.O.M. and by the time Saturday comes around, I am just as in need of some refueling as a Fortune 500 exec.

My go-to activity of choice is distance running, but as our family’s schedule gets more packed during the week, I have found myself cramming in my weekly miles either before or after Clark goes to work. I am not a fan of cramming since the whole idea behind distance running is to get out of my head and re-energize, and I loathe the feeling of being under the gun. Recently, I rearranged my routine to save the bulk of my mileage for the weekend. Now, I have something to look forward to during the week. When the kids {and the husband} go down for a nap on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I plug in a few podcasts and hit the mountain trails. {Although this past weekend, I let my curiosity get the better of me and I disobeyed one of those barred entrances. I ended up a half-mile off course booking it through waist-high weeds for fear that I would be bitten, stung, or mauled before I resumed the straight and narrow– oops}.

When I am on the mountain {and abiding by the recreation rules}, it is the only time during any given week that I am not thinking about laundry or unanswered voice mails. It is quite simply a sweet slice of time and space to discard the stress that  has me by the throat the rest of the week. I barely get phone reception out there, so I am quite literally “unplugged”. It is glorious, and I am more ready to face the demands of the week ahead.

How about you? How do you recharge your batteries on the weekends?

{Photo by Colin Athens}

Weekend Recovery Quote

running print quote

…yesterday’s 10-mile trail run mantra. However, if you need me at any point today, I will most likely be recovering… on the couch.

Happy Monday!

Happy Trails

tumblr_m8qmm5mper1rclxlio1_500{Image via Modern Day Hemingway}

I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about all things sanity and mental health this week. Speaking of sanity, I am in the throes of planning our summer travels. This requires some creativity because our plans involve two small children who are just as satisfied going to Pet Smart to watch the fish as they would be going to the Georgia Aquarium. The only difference is the price of admission. The last thing I want to do is spend money on a vacation that is going to leave Clark and I feeling like we need a vacation to recover from our vacation.

What is the most memorable vacation you’ve ever taken {with or without kiddos}?

Embrace Your Pace

0ec12310abd27d23c4db6f9304cb4f08{Image via Francesca Fazio’s Pinterest page}

Yesterday, I listened to a radio podcast entitled “At the Pace of What’s Real” by writer, Grace Bonney. In light of a recent stress-induced health scare, Bonney discusses the importance of finding personal balance by being “present”, or as I like to call it, “embracing your pace”. I am faster-paced by nature. I like activity and busy-ness. Like most women, I thrive in multi-tasking, but often at the cost of being fully present in the moment at hand. I find myself checking emails while I should be reading to one of my kids or working on a project at night during the precious few hours I have alone with Clark. Grace specifically challenges small business owners to hone the present by engaging in the current task in order to maintain productive and focussed work. But I think her message applies to women whether they are in the work force and/or stay at home. The full podcast is a worthy listen, but here are a few notes that I found particularly insightful. Grace says, “If we are not 100% present… our work suffers.” So, how do we stay engaged in the present routine of building a successful career or a successful family? Here’s what she suggests:

  • Imagine being “new” at your work. What were some of the emotions you felt as a new employee? a new wife? a new mother? Enthusiasm, willingness, creativity, gratitude, vision… The wonder of a new assignment so easily fades over time, but if you can access that “newness” once again, let it be a reminder that you are getting to do what you love.

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  • Make room for spontaneity. What inspires you? Books, documentaries, outdoor sports, hobbies, art, music….So often I have to pull the plug on a plan for the day in order to take time to re-inspire myself. If I am better connected with the parts of myself that are living fully, I will have a better chance of staying engaged in present tasks and opportunities.

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  • Be curious. Remain a student of your spouse, your kids, your craft… yourSELF.
  • Appreciate the small stuff. Engaging in the most tedious of work-related tasks {admin., maintenance, planning, etc.} gives you a holistic awareness of your work, therefore, don’t resent it.

Can I take some artistic liberty to add one of my own?

  • Embrace your limitations.  This one is personally the hardest for me. Staying present requires saying “no”… a lot. Personal interests and opportunities, even some really great ones, come knocking at my door everyday, and I find myself wanting to do it all. But, I am learning to accept that the race can do with one less runner. The stage can do with one less singer. Twitter can do with one less tweet. But my kids only get one Mommy. My husband only gets one wife.  The sooner I can accept that, the better chance I will have of living fully in my current circumstances. Everything else will just have to wait. 

This awareness has been extremely eye-opening for me. I’m still chewing on it actually, and I was hoping that we could help each other to really get this. How do you maintain a healthy balance by being “present”?

{Images via Rebecca Zeller Photography}

Color Me Happy

Shelby: “My colors are blush and bashful”.
M”Lynn: “Her colors are pink and pink.”
— Steel Magnolias

According to environmental psychologists, the colors with which we surround ourselves really do have a dramatic effect on our moods, emotions, and overall wellness. It is called chromotherapy {or color therapy}. Being a color-lover myself, I feel better already knowing that a few extra jewel tones and some bright accents might be just what the doctor ordered!

DS purple

Purple is ideal for meditation, inspiration and intuition.

DS Blue

Blue has a more calming effect.

DS Red

Red is energizing and revitalizing.

DS Green

Green helps to soothe, balance, and restore.

DS Orange

Orange promotes happiness, warmth and creativity.

How about you? What is your “signature color”?

{All images via Design*Sponge}

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